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September 2017

Inspiration and Motivation

Pain, Pain, Go Away Come Again Another Day…Not!

September 28, 2017

I believe that it is safe to assume that most individuals have heard the nursery rhyme “Rain, rain go away come again another day…” Well that is how I feel about pain… and I am speaking of the literal physical pain.  The kind of pain that makes you feel like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz.  Yes, I am speaking about the character that wishes that he had a heart…lol.  Apart, from needing a heart, I vividly remember the tin man being so squeaky and rusty, and in dire need of some oil. Thankfully, the kind-hearted Dorothy came to his aide after she found his oil can. Well, last week I did not have a Dorothy to come to my aide, which was highly unfortunate because my bones ached like they NEVER ached before. Seesh…it really felt like my joints needed to be greased ASAP. As, comical as I am making it out to be…I was sincerely alarmed. I felt like I was trapped in the body of a typical 90-year-old woman.

Over the last year my body had gone through some immense physical changes. The most extreme being 10 months of pregnancy…the struggle was real!  The saying holds true that as one ages, your body does not bounce back the same way.  However, despite everything, I am thankful to God that I made it through in ‘one piece’.  Now back to the subject at hand…my achy breaky body. O yes, so my body felt like it was falling into a million gazillion pieces. The saddest time of this weeklong ordeal, was that I could not even exercise, or walk without being in pain. As I tried to rehearse my Zumba Kids dance routine (yes, you heard me correctly…I teach Zumba for children and I love it!), my ankles wailed for help. It became so painful that I had to call it quits that evening. I went to bed whispering a prayer to God, that He would give me the strength to make it through class the following day. Great news I survived the near hour of class! Hurray!

Nonetheless, this ordeal provoked deep thought on my part. I began asking myself, what did I do, or what was I doing that could possibly trigger this full body pain. It wasn’t exercising because again it was bone pain. Perhaps it was my diet…was I lacking something? Hmmm…could it be the lack of sleep? I just quietly sat down and thought about all the situations that could be linked to my severe pain. Well, I knew one thing for sure—I had to be proactive. As a result, I made sure I was taking my vitamins, eating plenty of greens, vegetables and fruits, and tried my best to get to bed at a reasonable hour. Being a mom of a nearly 4 month-old nursing infant makes it difficult for me to get a full “eight hour” rest, and there is not much I can do about that at the moment. In short, this entire situation had me thinking about my overall health and the present stress levels in my life.

I choose to be healthy and happy. This is evident in my recent change to a plant-based diet. I have worked in cancer care for 10 years and have come across some very wealthy patients. I remember coming across one particular man, my very first year out of college working at the cancer clinic. As many who know me can attest, I love to talk and get to know people. It is truly one of my greatest strengths. Well, this older man opened up to me, and was very candid in letting me know that he would give up all his wealth (trust me he had a lot of it too!), if he could get his health back. Moments like that one, always pops back in my mind when I take a few seconds to sit back and re-evaluate my life. It helps to solidify my decision to be happy and healthy.

This leads me to another point…

Millennials a.k.a. Generation Y (people born between 1977-1994) [WJSchroer, 2017]… are dropping like flies! In other words, individuals in their 40’s to late 20’s are dying, or becoming quite ill at alarming rates from various diseases. What in the world is going on? Yes, we know food, environmental issues, and increasing stress in various forms, are contributing to this sad, but realistic problem. I have friends who have become disabled or passed away from strokes and heart attacks. Get this…they were only in their 30’s and 40’s. We all really need to take the time to re-evaluate our lifestyle choices and make the necessary changes to ensure longevity. It is a truism that sometimes death or illness is inevitable, but what about the times when it can be avoided or delayed. I strongly believe that we need to educate ourselves on our medical family histories, and try to do whatever we can to delay or negate disease.  

Yesterday, morning my younger brother calls me as I was doing a quick grocery run. As our conversation progressed we eventually began speaking about his heart condition. He was recently diagnosed Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVC), after years of being treated for Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) (which first occurred in his early 20’s). According to the Mayo Clinic, “Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are extra, abnormal heartbeats that begin in one of your heart’s two lower pumping chambers (ventricles).” (Mayo Clinic, 2017). If you are a healthy individual, with no other pre-existing heart conditions then no treatment is usually necessary (Mayo Clinic, 2017).

However, for my brother he had a history of AFib (to this present day his doctor does not know what triggered the condition), which means that his heart would quiver instead of beat, and/or just beat irregularly (American Heart Association, 2017). This could lead to blood clots, heart failure, and other heart-related complications (American Heart Association, 2017). Basically, my brother’s heart was a literally a ticking time bomb. Thankfully, his problem was caught early and the correct treatment was rendered on his behalf.

Again, the moral of this story regarding my brother is that disease and death are no respecter of age, race, or sex. He just turned 30 this last June. Mercy! I know! We all must take the active steps in assuring that we take care of our bodies. Additionally, we must learn our family medical histories as well, because that can also be a lifesaver. For example, heart disease does not run in our mother’s side of the family. However, we have no clue as to the medical problems that runs in our father’s side. It remains a mystery. Nonetheless, yesterday on the phone with my brother we were able to conclude that some form of heart disease probably runs on the paternal side of our family, because I too have a heart ailment. I was officially diagnosed with a 1st degree heart block at around the age of 13. As with PVC’s, a 1st degree heart block, with no other underlying health condition requires no treatment (Cleveland Clinic, 2017). So, I am able to live a healthy and full life. However, I must stay on top of my health, and go back for my regular check-ups. In addition, I am very careful about my caffeine consumption, which can lead to an irregular or elevated heart rate. In regards to my brother, as a body builder he does consume a good amount of caffeine, which could also have played a role in his AFib (American Heart Association, 2017). Learn your family medical history if you can…the results can be life-saving.

Take the time and invest in yourself. I am speaking about in a way that surpasses money or other materialistic items. I am referring to eating right, sleeping enough, and reducing stress at all possible costs. Remember everyone…stress KILLS! Make that change to live a full, healthy, and pain free life today… the pay off is Grrreat (in the voice of Tony the Tiger, the frosted flakes mascot…LOL)!!!

~Contessa Thomas

 

References

http://socialmarketing.org/archives/generations-xy-z-and-the-others/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premature-ventricular-contractions/basics/definition/con-20030205

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/AboutArrhythmia/What-is-Atrial-Fibrillation-AFib-or-AF_UCM_423748_Article.jsp#.WcvizRQp3zI

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/heart-block

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Inspiration and Motivation

Just Stop It

September 24, 2017

I sit back and rest my head on the bed headboard. I close my eyes. My mind, which is swirling and whirling from the day’s events—starts to drift away.  I imagine myself lying on the beach, on the bright white Caribbean sand. Feeling the waves caress my legs. The sun kisses my cheeks as I feel her warmth oh so near. The sound of nature cooing in my ears…..

This scenery is definitely one that can calm a soul in uproar.

I wish that I was there right about now…

This is the third week of school everything was planned out meticulously. I thought that I had everything under control. All the activities are set in place, and I’ve given myself a mental green light. As I go through the actual motions of my plans I realize how much work it is, and that it’s not as easy as 1-2-3.

The reality of this matter is that I’m overwhelmed!!

I’d never thought these words could come bouncing off my lips…well off my finger tips in this case.

As I reflect upon all the things that I am expected to do I realize that it is a lot and I am unsure of how to proceed.

You see, being overwhelmed is a form of stress. Stress is something that we should all try our hardest to avoid.  While research has shown leading causes of death to be heart disease, obesity, and cancer…I would like to add that STRESS contributes to the onset of these killer diseases.

We live in a society where stress is almost seen as the norm…

This should not be so!

Stress can affect our bodies in so many different ways.

Stress can cause headaches, muscle tension, pain, fatigue, changes in our sex drive, stomach problems, and sleep problems (Mayo clinic, 2016).

It is also a truism that stress can negatively impact your mood. Stress is known to cause anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation or focus, feeling overwhelmed, irritability, anger, sadness or depression (Mayo clinic, 2016).

Not only does stress affect our physical bodies and our moods, it can also impact our behavior. Stress can cause overeating or under eating, angry outbursts, reliance on drugs or alcohol, tobacco use, social withdrawal, and a decreased desire to exercise (Mayo clinic, 2016).

As we can see, stress can take a great toll on us. 

It is very important for us to manage our stress. If stress goes untreated, it can kill us. 

I was talking to a friend the other day with whom I was explaining all of my responsibilities and she could not believe it.  She could not fathom how much I had to do, and how I was dealing with it.  We joked about it, but she became serious with me.  She explained that stress kills and that I did not want it to claim my life…

My friends…

If you’re stressed, you have to decide if you want to live. Do you want to be available to your spouse, children, family and friends?

If your answer is yes, you must find ways to alleviate your stress.  First you need to figure out the source of your stress. Are you stressed because you have too many things to do? Are you stressed with a particular project? Are you stressed by being in a certain environment? Whatever the source is— that must first be determined in order to know the remedy to alleviate your stress.

Some helpful tips to manage stress include letting some of your responsibilities go. You may have to prioritize what’s the most important thing that you have to do, and then figure out what are the things that could wait, or be done away with. Once you have decided what is a priority, focus on that thing and let everything else fall to the wayside.

Other remedies for stress include exercising/physical activity on a regular basis, relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, massage therapy, laughing, socializing with family and/or friends, making time for hobbies, such as reading, listening to music, and crotcheting.

This is my quick fix remedy to help alleviate stress. It’s an acronym for stress.

S: Socialize – Talk to people, hang out with friends that make you laugh. Learn to just relax with people who love you, and it can help to reduce your stress

T: Travel – Sometimes the best stress reliever is simply getting out of the situation that you’re in. Take a trip somewhere! It could be as far as the other side of the world like China, or in the USA if you’re already in China. If those two aren’t an option, it could be taking a drive somewhere outside of your current location, just so that you can think and clear your mind.

R: Read – Reading can be one of the most productive stress relievers ever!!! When you read a good book, it’s like you take a pause on your own life, and become a part of that book you are reading.  In that moment you forget about your own issues and problems and actually relax. 

E: Exercise – Exercise is a great stress reliever. Your body responds in a way that allows you to relax and feel refreshed. 

S: Sleep – Sleep can help reduce stress, especially if your stress is caused by a lack of sleep.  Sleep helps to restore your body to a stable state, which is important when alleviating stress. 

S: Stop – JUST STOP DOING THE THINGS THAT ARE STRESSING YOU OUT! If it’s certain people- STOP hanging out with them. If it’s your job STOP working there. I know that this is a tricky one, but if it were me working in a stressful environment I would have to find another place to work. I don’t want stress to kill me, or leave me in a place where I am completely useless to my family. Truth is that you will be replaced immediately any way if something should happen to you (e.g. – illnesses). So, why not put your health and sanity first.  In conclusion, whatever it is that it’s stressing you… just stop it!

We have to take a stand for our health today, because another day under such distress is not guaranteed.  So, remember to live, love, and laugh each and every moment that you can.

 

~Candace Mezetin

 

References

 

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987

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Inspiration and Motivation

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble…Meat Eaters vs. Plant Eaters

September 21, 2017

It often boggles my mind to think that there is so much competition out there in the world between meat eaters and plant eaters. Why does it always feel like there is a never-ending battle between which side is better than the next??? This past Monday I had a conversation with my mother-in-law, which kind of carried a slight undertone along this subject line. I must admit it was a very funny conversation and she had me laughing a lot, but this constant battle of the diets was ever so present during our discussion. The constant struggle of eating a plant-based diet versus a meat-based diet, along with all the health benefits and disadvantages that go along with eating one or the other can be quite stressful on a person.

While the conversation with my mother-in-law was very funny, there was one main point that stood out to me and I would like to share it. Here goes… as a plant-based eater, it is a constant struggle to defend whether or not one is actually getting the proper nutrients. For example, when I used to eat meat no one ever really questioned whether or not I was getting the proper nutrients. Why is that??? In fact, I am now getting a taste of my own medicine. You see…I used to dish out these same questions to my sister, Candace. I used to ask her all the time and question her about whether or not she was eating enough calories/getting enough nutrients each day as a vegan. Well, the tables have turned, and now I feel like I am the recipient of these frequently asked caloric and nutritional questions. At times, I am a little reluctant to tell individuals (in particular family/friends) that I have now switched to eating a plant-based diet, out of fear of being judged or looked down upon as starving my family and myself. Okay, so let’s dig deep down so that we can get to the bottom of this subject matter. So…“Why does it have to be a competition???”

Listen, we are all individuals and entitled to make our own decisions on how we live, what we eat, and how we choose to raise our families, and etc. We should stop making each other feel bad for the decisions that we make—period. This is can be applied to all areas in a person’s life (e.g. – family, relationships, eating habits, and etc.). I have learned throughout the years (after many difficult lessons) to not judge other people. Yes, that individual may be making some unwise decisions, but if you really want to have an impact on them, just love them, and prayerfully seek how to intervene on their behalf. Getting right back on track… if a person wants to eat a plant-based diet then kudos to them, and if someone wants to eat a meat-based diet then kudos to you too! We all have to make the decision on whether or not we want to go after the most optimal health choices out there, or just settle for being okay, or in some cases being sick and unhealthy.

With that being said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the stereotypes that tend to follow each of these two categories—that I have came upon through my personal experiences.

For the plant-based diet community the following stigmas tend to follow us:

  • Plant-based diet eaters do not get enough nutrients.
  • Plant-based diet eaters don’t tend to look as healthy and plump as their meat- eating counterparts (this one really made me laugh).
  • Plant-based diet eaters would choose animals over human beings all the time if given the opportunity (Aha! The infamous guilt trip).

In regards to my former meat eating community the following applies:

  • Meat eaters tend to not be as healthy and are overweight.
  • Meat eaters are going to die earlier than people who eat a plant-based diet (Gosh! This is so stereotypical).
  • Meat eaters don’t care about animals—they just eat them (Really?!?!…Lol).

Even for me now, seeing such generalizations written down only solidifies just how silly they are. If we want to make the biggest impact, let us not make unproven allegations about dietary choices, but in a humble and supportive way showcase the benefits of living on whichever diet we choose to live on—through our actions and physical/mental/emotional states. If the benefits of eating one way heavily out weights the other, perhaps that is the time when you want to be open to the possibility of wanting/choosing a better dietary option for yourself and family.

As the conversation with my mother-in-law came to a close, it was evident that she had a general concern about our well-being and new dietary choices. I totally understand her position as it can be very concerning, especially when emaciated individuals (looking like they are two seconds away from blowing away in a mild wind, or looking like a dried up raisin in need of some hydration…Lol) walk around screaming at the top of their lungs, that they eat a predominately plant-based diet or better yet that they are Vegan.

In light of the meat industry and animal agriculture, it is a crying shame.   The things that are being done to the animals, along with the diseases and bacteria that are festering within their bodies (due to their living/feeding arrangements) are very alarming. As a former person who loved dairy, chicken, and fish—it can be very difficult to give up eating flesh and/or flesh by-products because of ‘how good’ it tastes and ‘how good” it makes you feel. It just helps to trigger those good endorphin packed feelings of ‘yummy’ within our brains. A mild sense of addiction….hmmmm.

Long story short—as a public health professional, wife, and mother, I highly recommend choosing a simpler/cleaner diet to partake in. Additionally, for those individuals who have taken the challenging step to eat a plant-based diet, do your research. BE SMART about this change. It is a truism that plants do not have the same caloric weight as meat. Therefore, be sure to keep track of what is being consumed, along with their nutritional values. You do not want to have to embody the famished look.   For those individuals, who eat meat, be WISE about where you are purchasing it. Be completely knowledgeable about the living conditions of the animals being eaten, it can truly save your life/and prevent both short and long term food-borne illnesses.

So the next time you find yourself in a heated discussion, or in the boxing ring corner of dietary options—simply smile and do not get all caught up in the hype. Instead, collectively and thoughtfully take the time to sit down and re-evaluate, which dietary options are the best for your overall well-being—and the health of all our families.  

~Contessa Thomas

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Inspiration and Motivation

Will the real (*Insert your name) Please stand up

September 18, 2017

Every day seems like a game. Trying to keep up with the latest fashions, trying to make sure that your hair looks like the style that Beyoncé rocked in her last performance…simply put, are trying to keep up with the status quo. This game is real. This game is stressful. This game is not fun.

How many of us have lost our true identities? How many of us don’t even know who we are, because we are trying so hard to be someone else. Social media has a way of messing with our minds. All types of people, some whom we call friends and others whom we just happened to stumble upon through various means, at times struggle to portray this image of perfection.

I must admit there are times when I see certain styles on social media, or certain hairstyles, or certain images, or places people go that I subconsciously yearn for myself.

“I want my hair to be straight, I want to go to that place, and I want to wear clothes that look just like that.”

But the question that I must ask myself is, “who am I?”

I’m asking you…Who are you?

Will the real (insert your name) stand up!

Will the real Candace stand up!

I remember growing up as a child, that I wasn’t confident about who I was. I suffered with low self-esteem, and that was caused by the image that society deemed as beautiful. Beauty was defined as having long hair, light skin and a slim body. This image dilemma started back in elementary school. This was such a tender age for me, and I should not have had to deal with such self-esteem issues at all— especially being that I was just in elementary school.

This childhood experience has compelled me to constantly teach my children that they are beautiful/handsome. This is important to me.

I believe that we are called to teach our children to love themselves, to appreciate themselves, to be happy with the way that they were made—

because they are beautiful.

I never heard those words growing up. As a matter of fact I heard the opposite. I was known as the fat one, the ugly one, and the one that no one really was attracted to. It was really bad and even looking back at it now brings sadness to my heart, that I had to endure such pain at an early age.

I remember in my early school years looking at some of my classmates who received all the attention, wishing that I looked like them, or wishing that I had hair like them, or that I was light-skinned like them. I was lost and I didn’t know who I was.

As I grew into adulthood, I got better at accepting who I was and learned to love myself, but every now and then I would still struggle with self-esteem issues and feeling beautiful.

So many of us struggle with accepting who we are, struggle with living confidently in our skin, and struggle with being the best that we can be.  We are consistently being bombarded with society’s portrait of “beautiful ” that it can become stifling.  

It’s time for us to reclaim ourselves.  It’s time to be confident as we represent ourselves in this world.  In order to do that, we first have to learn who we are. We have to know what we love, we have to know what we choose to stand for, and we have to know what we want to be outside of what society thinks is “appropriate.”  We have to learn to be an individual. This is essential when you are learning to love yourself.

Second, we must never compare ourselves to anyone else. We are not them. We have not walked in their shoes, we have not talked their talk, we have not slept in their beds, we have not eaten at their tables, we have not lived their lives—so we should not compare ourselves or set our standards according to someone else’s. We all have a different purpose, and we all are equipped differently to walk this course we call life. So we must never compare ourselves to anyone else.

Thirdly, we have to be confident in who we are. We have to live each day holding our heads high, being confident in what we are setting out to do for that day. We must never proceed in a manner that portrays us as being cowardly, timid, or even withdrawn. We have to own the stage that we are walking on, even if it’s a different course than what others are walking. We have to live knowing that we are “bad” a.k.a “the stuff”.

I believe that this confidence comes when we learn to love ourselves and accept ourselves for who we are. I am learning every day that I am Me and I cannot be compared to anyone else. I am uniquely made and I’m special. Knowing that helps me to become more confident in what I do and who I am. Knowing this helps me to keep my head lifted high and to live each day to my best ability.

Lastly, we just have to live out our purpose. Once we know who we are and we accept who we are, and are confident in who we are, only then are we able to just live and be. Don’t be afraid to soar. Don’t be afraid to live and thrive, to take risks, to explore. We have to live out the life that we were created to live and be the best at it. We must not allow any distractions to come our way, that will deter us from the purpose that we were created to fulfill. When we can do these things, we are standing up in confidence. Then when our name is called, we pop up and be like *BAM* “Here I am”.

So, the next time your name is called, don’t stand up all timid and shy, but stand up strong, head raised high and say, “Here I am!”

The real (insert your name) is STANDING!!!

 

~Candace Mezetin

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The Art Of Perspective

September 14, 2017

The way we view things as individuals is so unique. In fact, the way we tend to see various situations is as different as our physical looks. We are all from many types of cultural backgrounds; all unique in our very own way.  

This same principle extends to our perspectives. What is a perspective? Yes, in short it is the way a person views certain things or situations. Nonetheless, let us define the word officially using none other than my good friend Merriam Webster.

According to Merriam Webster, perspective has a few meanings, but for the sake of this article I will be referring to the following one: “interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed places the issues in proper perspective.” Simply put…it is our “Point of View”.

Recently, I have had the opportunity to stumble upon some amazing videos on social media. In particular, I happened to see this video where a man who looked like a professor of some sort was speaking about a glass of water. In the video, he proceeded to speak about how individuals would view the water in the glass cup that he was holding in his hand. He said that some people would see the glass as half empty, while others would view it as half full. This was not the first time I heard of the concept of how some people would rather view things in a more negative light rather than focusing on the positive elements. As I watched the video, I became encouraged. It was a great reminder to be appreciative of the good things that are present in my life. Gosh, turning on the news, or just walking outside our homes, or looking at how people on the street interact with each other can be so discouraging at times. More often than not, it conditions our minds to embrace the negativity. Negativity poisons! It reminds me of the poison arsenic, because…it causes slow…very slow mental/emotional death—often never leaving a trace of its destruction until it is too late.

These last few couple of weeks has been a reminder of how precious life really is…especially in the wake of all the hurricane devastation caused by Irma and Harvey. People have lost their homes, businesses, and even sadder—their lives. Truly nothing lasts forever. That is why embracing the concept of the glass being half full is so essential in my opinion. Anyone without even giving it a thought can zoom in on the glass being half empty, but taking the time to refocus our mental lenses to capture the glass being half full, takes some real effort on our parts. We have to consciously want to see things in a more pleasant way. Again, this is not the easier route, but the only way I believe to achieve true happiness, and a real sense of peace in this wretched world that we call home. To see the glass as half full opens our minds to the possibility of hope. Half full in the minds of the hopeful, translates into a chance to do something better tomorrow, if given the opportunity to do so.

Every morning when I open my eyes, I am thankful. I am thankful that God has granted me life once more. At that moment, I immediately pick up “positivity goggles” and put them on before worry and doubt from the day starts to barge its way in as unwelcomed guests. I choose daily to thrive, to soar, and to live to my full potential…yes; I choose to embrace the glass being half full.

So, with that said…what will you choose today? Are you going to focus on the negativity (glass being half empty), or positivity (glass being half full)? Be sure to choose wisely, because when time escapes us, it leaves us forever…that moment in time to never return.

Join me in the fight of hope…yes we live to fight another day in faith and love!

~Contessa Thomas

 

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The Platonic Zone

September 10, 2017

Welcome to the PLATONIC ZONE!!!

My name is the host who loves to boast. And yes, I can boast about just anything!!! Haha!! My jokes are to die for!!

Have you ever felt like you’re living with a roommate?…or a good friend?… better yet,  your best friend? When in reality that’s your SPOUSE!!!!????

If that’s you….

Congratulations!!!

You’ve entered the forbidden platonic zone!!!

Featured in this zone are the relentless encounters with your spouse, who no longer “excites” you. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is love for your spouse, but there is no physical, or sexual desire. You simply put up with your spouse, because maybe you’ve been married for 20 years and there’s no point in backing out now.

You exchange quick hugs, which hold no real value and your kiss happens in the same amount of time it takes to blink an eye….HMMM

You live mundane lives… running the course… the same ole… same ole….

You’re easily annoyed at anything your spouse does. Those little things that use to light your fire are no longer “cute”. You’re more frustrated than not and you have A strong conviction that the grass is greener on the other side.

WRONG!! IT’S NOT!

This zone is a dangerous place for any marriage or love relationship to be.

This zone can lead to Sudden Relationship Death Syndrome (SRDS)!!!

I bet you’re wondering,  ” What’s SRDS? “

Well I’ll tell you:

Sudden relationship death syndrome (SRDS) is where you’re at such a disconnected place in your relationship, that you’ve subconsciously opened the door to emotional affairs, lusting, and possibly engaging in relationships that are allegedly friendships— but they are obviously so much more…

As much as I love hosting this platonic zone game show, truth is… You don’t want to be a contestant on this show.

For those of you on my show and are suffering from SRDS you may be wondering, “how do I get out of this platonic zone?

Let’s find out:

For starters, you have to know and accept that there are no perfect relationships. There are always struggles… hills and mountains to climb, valleys to wallow in, and oceans to swim across.  Funny enough,  when you think you have gotten over that difficult hurdle, the next obstacle instantaneously comes your way.

Understanding this will help you to know that there is always work to do in order to keep your relationship going.  A car will not run without gas…the stove will not turn on without gas or electricity… and your relationship will not grow without communication and proactive love.

How do you  restore the romance in your marriage/relationships?

There are so many books, websites, television shows and other mediums that can give you step-by-step instructions on how to spice up your romance. Some of the advice given may work… while some may not.

While some may find value in the step by step remedies, I honestly believe that in order to rekindle a burnt out flame, you have to want to reignite that fire!!!

If you’re invested and care about your relationship, and want to make it work… there’s hope.  Secondly, you have to know your love language.

Your love language is how you interpret feeling loved. Your love language turns you on, excites you and ignites you.

Author Gary Chapman expounds upon this concept of the 5 love languages:

  1. Words of affirmation

This is the language where words are needed to feel loved.  Individuals with this love language need to hear “I love you” and other compliments, as these are what is valued most. Words hold value, so it is very important to be mindful of what is said. Negative or insulting comments hurt a great deal — and will pose great difficulty to be forgiven

  1. Quality time

This language encompasses the element of TIME. Time matters and it is important to make time for your significant other— if this is their love language. Talk is cheap…it means nothing…. Time is everything.  Minimize all distractions, postpone dates, and make sure to really listen.

  1. Receiving gifts

According to Dr. Chapman, receiving gifts is the mode by which love is felt for some people. Through receiving gifts, these individual are said to feel loved and appreciated.

  1. Acts of service

Actions speak louder than words!!!! Those individuals who speak this love language need their partner to recognize that life is no walk in the park and help is needed. Recognizing their need and actually helping out translates to love. Broken promises, and laziness are a big turn off for those who speak this language.

  1. Physical touch

For those who speak this language, appropriate touch is an all time indicator of being loved. This is not singled out to a “bow Chicka wow wow” bedroom session, but it includes all types of physical connections such as: holding hands or kissing.

Understanding your love language, and then teaching your spouse or significant other how to speak your language will absolutely rekindle that fire.

Try it…because if you agreed earlier that you are in a Platonic (Friendship) zone, and don’t want to experience “sudden relationship death syndrome” understanding this concept can hopefully help turn things around.

All relationships go through ups and downs, and even if you’re in that dreaded zone… It’s never too late to get that fire re-started.

Don’t give up!

Thanking you all for joining me today (hopefully never to return) in the platonic zone!!!

~Candace Mezetin

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Inspiration and Motivation

Laugh Until It Hurts

September 7, 2017

Laughter is such a great thing. It can turn any situation that seems impossible into a situation of hope. Throughout my years I have had some really tough times. There were definitely times when I was not even sure how I was going to make it through. However, one thing I can remember doing during those times, besides of course praying… and that was laughing. As a child, I was always known as the comedian of my family. My aunt, my mother, and my sister would always respond the loudest to my shenanigans. Truth is, my aunt and many others in my family, and friends gave me energy when I could make them laugh and turn their dark skies blue again. For me, growing up, as the abuse increased, so did my need to laugh. So, that little comedian girl grew up into comedic young woman.

You see, the funny thing is that I can at times be very serious, while other times I am the funniest and coolest person in the world. Despite this truth, my yearning to love others and bring a smile to their faces has never ceased. As I type I am getting an immediate flashback to early Monday morning, when I had to re-clean our bathroom that my husband supposedly cleaned earlier that Sunday.

Okay here goes the story, so I fell asleep Sunday night next to my newborn son, and my husband gets into bed and woke me about 11:50pm. After, I finished sending off my blog newsletter, I entered the bathroom with great anticipation to go take a nice long hot shower in my nicely cleaned bathtub (thanks to hubby). Well, well, well… to my surprise when I looked at our bathtub it was still dirty. Now, let me reiterate, my husband was really putting some elbow grease into this bathtub Sunday morning. I really could not make sense of why the tub floor was still dirty…I know funny right. Anyways… my heart sank. However, instead of throwing a big fit, I simply just laughed. That marked the beginning of a one-woman comedy show early that morning. I couldn’t help myself, and the jokes just started to flow non-stop as I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed.

My husband was listening outside the bathroom door as he read in bed. It was actually so funny that he was laughing on the other side of the door. What seemed to him to be a moment of comedy was actually a moment of survival for me. Truth is I really wanted to cry. Being a wife and a mother is an unending job. Your hours of work never stop. In fact they seem to go on forever. I strongly feel that many times women are underestimated and overlooked. The contribution that they make to ensure the successful running of a home is beyond what words can even describe. Men, I feel at times may think that their wives are ‘Nagging Hags’ (please feel free to check out my previous article on the topic here: http://sisarias.com/?p=230), but they should not think that way. They should always remember that our role as wife and/or mother is highly essential to their success as a husband and/or father.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m drowning in the day-to-day tasks, but nonetheless I still have hope. That hope translates into my laughter. So yes, early Monday morning I laughed until it hurt.

Now, time for a second story…Tuesday marked the first day of school for my older son and daughter. Monday, which was Labor Day was a day of gruesome prep. To make matters worse my husband had to work that night. As if that wasn’t bad enough, my six year old daughter mysteriously slips backwards and bangs her head hard on the wood floors. This occurred not too long after my husband walks out the door for work. While I struggled to put the baby to sleep, my daughter woke up screaming that her head was hurting her. “Lord, please have mercy on my soul!” is all that filled my thoughts. As she screamed in her room, her little brother took the liberty to air out his pipes as well. After a few minutes of a cold compression on her injured spot, she fell asleep. Thankfully, the baby fell asleep around the same time as well.

I was sitting on my bed at that late hour, and all I wanted to do was cry. However, I chose not to. Instead I chose to laugh… until it hurt. I opened up my Facebook account and looked at some comedians, which immediately brought a huge smile to my face. Life is something that is totally unplanned at times and can spool a lot of surprises. Yes, even with that truism, don’t give up and don’t give in, keep fighting. Many people may look at my life and think I have it all so perfect. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. My life isn’t perfect and neither is anyone that I know, so we shouldn’t waste our time trying to pretend that it is. Instead be real and acknowledge the shortcomings and grow from them. Laugh through the growing pains, because they are necessary and extremely important in our character development.

I think that I have painted a very detailed picture about how I view laughter and how it benefits me. However, let us take a look at some public opinions. According to http://www.lifehack.org laughter has 9 benefits (whoa that is a lot!!!):

  1. Laughter stimulates your full body
  2. Laughter makes you feel better (It sure does!)
  3. Laugher increases your immunity (Chuck that vitamin C and laugh! Just kidding)
  4. Laughter promotes health
  5. Laughter helps you stress less (Ain’t this the truth, just ask my husband…LOL)
  6. Laughter increases your connection with others
  7. Laughter burns calories. (This one really motivates me…hey who needs the gym…just laugh….another little jokie joke!)
  8. Laughter builds mood and confidence
  9. Laughter can help you through difficult times (Yes!!! Through my hardest and darkest times…I remember how much laughing made a difference).

So, you see it is not only me who thinks that laughter is highly beneficial, there are others out there for whom it has also worked wonders for in their lives.

In closing…laugh, laugh hard, and laugh the hardest you possibly can. Life in itself is quite serious— let us learn to give life a nice kick of humor from time to time.

Come on…try it!!! Go and show off those pearly whites!

~Contessa Thomas

 

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Inspiration and Motivation

Me Before You…?

September 3, 2017

About 2 weeks ago my sister and I had the opportunity to watch this movie that she had strongly recommended for me to watch some time before. Even though I was tired, it was a movie night well needed.  It also became a sister hair night as we stayed up way past hours to do each other’s hair, while we watched this movie.  At first I was a bit skeptical about the movie, but she promised it was worth watching and indeed it was. I don’t want to spoil the movie for those of you who haven’t seen it yet,  but I would be remised not to mention the many lessons that I have learned from this movie, lessons that have changed my outlook on life for the better.

It’s not a coincidence that I was able to watch this movie at a pivotal point in time, as I was about to turn a year older.  As I start this ‘New Year’ of life, the lessons from this movie has opened my understanding of people and validated the kind of person I want to be. I would like to share them with you all.  

This movie is an old movie that came out sometime last year, so if you haven’t seen it already I would encourage you to go and check it out– it’s called,  “Me Before You”.

In a nutshell, this movie is about a young woman named Louisa Clark who seems to be leading a boring life. She hasn’t had much work experience and she was just “working” to make money. The shop that she was employed at for the last 6 years was being closed down and as a result she was laid off from her job. Loiusa was in desperate need of another job to help support her family, who heavily relied on her income. The job that she came upon was not one that she was used to completing. Louisa was accustomed to working in a coffee shop, where her knack was talking to people. Louisa was very chatty as described by the movie, and so working in the coffee shop was a natural for her. If that shop had not closed down,  she would have probably spent the rest of her life working there; not really aspiring to much as she seemed to have settled there.

Nonetheless, Louisa took on the job of caring for a  young man named William Traynor (Will), who became a quadriplegic from a motorcycle accident when he was hit while crossing the street. This man was someone who would have been considered to have lived life. He traveled the world, he was rich, and he could have had any girl that he wanted. Being in this quadriplegic state was demoralizing for him and therefore, Louisa was hired to keep him company and cheer him up.

The movie discloses that Louisa is in a relationship with her boyfriend Patrick for about 7 years, but their relationship seemed a bit stale if you ask me. It almost seems as if she was in the relationship, because they had been together for so long, and not because he was truly the one for her. It seemed to me that he was more of a stumbling block in her life than someone who would propel her farther. In my opinion she also settled in her relationship with Patrick.

The movie goes on to show how the development of Louisa’s and William’s relationship flourishes and how Louisa sought to help Will realize there was more to life even though he was a quadriplegic. She tried to help him see that he could enjoy life in this state. However, regardless of the fun he had with her, he knew that he did not want to spend the rest of his life like in his current state. He therefore opted to euthanize himself.  

This movie is heart touching, heartbreaking, and just a plain out eye-opener.  It will bring you to tears as I was bawling like a baby after watching this movie. But, as I reflected on the movie for several days I realized that there were some key points that I could apply to my life.

Lesson#1: Never settle

We should never be in a position of complacency!! We must always have a mindset of doing what we do better and better. 

Throughout the movie, it is apparent that Louisa had somewhat settled. She had no aspirations, and no desire to become something better.  Her family frequently called her “stupid “, probably jokingly with some truth behind it.  She even settled in her relationship that had become stagnant and rote.

We need to set high expectations for ourselves.  We need to dream big! Shoot for the stars, and climb those mountains. Regardless of your current circumstances, it’s never too late to strive for greater. It may be difficult to change some of those debilitating habits, but if you want change and growth, it’s definitely in your reach. 

Within my family, I was determined not to settle. I wasn’t dealt a prestigious deck of cards for my life; as a matter of fact, my childhood circumstances dictated that I should have been a failure. (Grew up in a broken home, being abused at a young age, and having limited exposure to greatness). Regardless of the direction my ship seemed to be heading, I sought to turn that wheel with all my might.  Here I stand today, being a college graduate, holding 3 degrees, and leading a life total opposite of what was projected based upon my circumstances. 

Never settle!

Lesson # 2:  Self happiness stems from making someone else happy

Within the movie, Louisa did not seem to be as happy. This is probably true because she was constantly compared to her sister who allegedly had all the brains.  It was not until she began to care for Will that she seemed to brighten up.  She found purpose for herself in her quest to help Will find meaning in his life–and in making him happy, she started to find her own happiness.

If you want to be happy,  you have to be selfless; looking out for others and helping others.  I know this may not make sense to some, but it’s true.  I realize that my happiest moments in life are when I care for my children and see the joyful glee appear across their faces; when I willingly agree to watch my friend’s/sisters children even though I have 4 of my own; when I sacrifice to help someone else in need–these moments make me happy. 

This past week my family went away to the Poconos. While we were there we visited the YMCA. While filling out paper work, there was a young, teenage Caucasian boy who needed to pay $5, so that he could utilize the gym for basketball. Being that I was filling out a membership form, he had to wait until I was done so that the receptionist could charge his card for the fee.  She asked him if he was paying with cash as that would expedite the process. However, he did not have cash. While filling out paper work I instantly stopped and in a reflexive manner, I opened my wallet and pulled out a crisp $5 bill and handed it to him.  He looked a bit stooped and wondered why I was paying for him; what’s the catch? The receptionist followed up by saying, “There are still good people in this world.” The boy smiled, said thank you and walked in as I continued to fill out the paperwork.  

That moment made me so happy! 

Lesson#3: You can’t change people,  but you love them anyway

Once Louisa learned that Will felt hopeless with his life, she tried her hardest to change his mind. I mean she really tried, but Will had his mind made up.  He no longer found purpose in his life as a quadriplegic.  As disheartening as this was, Louisa had to learn to accept it, and still give 100% to her job and to also fulfill her purpose in his life.  

This reminded me of the serenity prayer:
” God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. “

In life,  we may not always agree with people on the same things, or feel the same way about a situation, but even in that moment we should still love.  

This reminded me of a situation where some friends of mine did not like certain types of music/musical instruments being played in the church, as they felt it was unholy and irreverent.  Despite our attempts to reason together, both sides explaining their case, we have agreed to disagree. This difference was significant enough to destroy relationships, but in my eyes I chose to love past the differences. I have learned to accept people as they are and even though I do want them to see through Candace’s lens, I understand it may never be so, and it’s ok.   I love anyway!!!

I want to encourage you today to love people even when they aren’t changing to what you deem as right. At the end of the day, people have the right to choose and believe as they would like. We just have to love. The definition of “love ” will vary from person to person…regardless…love.

Lesson#4: Even though life may throw you a curve ball that changes your life,  IT IS NOT THE END! 

Before his accident, Will was a successful businessman in England. He was the kind of guy that women would throw themselves at. He had fame, money, good looks, and was  just outright successful. His accident completely changed his life. He was no longer an independent, free-spirited man who could do as he liked. He became trapped, unable to do anything for himself. He lost all hope and in his mind he was a living dead man, as he could no longer live the life he once knew. Louisa tried to get him to realize that his life was still worth living. He unfortunately did not bite her bait, However,  I want to encourage you today, that regardless of the detours in your life… it’s not the end.

Our lives may not always go the way that we planned for it to go. 
You may have experienced the death of a loved one, you may have been laid off from a job and you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, you may have lost your home to a fire, or foreclosure…IT’S NOT THE END!

You may have miscarried a child, you or a family member may have been diagnosed with a life changing disease, and everything as you knew it could have changed for the worst… IT’S NOT THE END!!!

When those unexpected events happen, that throw us off life’s course,  I want to encourage you to grieve…yes grieve, but it doesn’t end there. There will be sunshine and a beautiful rainbow after the storm… one that promises hope and an expected future. Don’t “end your life”, but continue to live, blossom and grow. You may have a limp in your side from the battle you faced, but you press forward limping along and living strong!!

Greatness is destined for your life!!!!

The title of this movie,  “Me Before You” can mean so many different things to so many people.  As I thought about the movie and pondered on the title, I applied it to myself.  I feel that the Me ( Candace) before You ( All of the people and situations in my life)  were so different. I never would have been who I am today, if it had not been for the situations I faced, and the people I met. 

I have grown up into a better woman because of “You”.

Life is full of so much. Live, love, and appreciate all the opportunities that allow you to grow and be a better you!

~ Candace Mezetin

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