Travel Confetti: Orange Beach 2018 Photos

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All Photos were taken by Nicole Jackson and are the property of Nicole Jackson. Permission needed to post or print or to use in any compacity. Thanks.

 

 

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Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Suicide, Self Love, Love for Others and The Creator’s Love

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With two people I admire in the world, Kate Spade for her vibrant fashion and Anthony Bourdain for his honesty, adventurous spirit, and good looks, gone through the chosen vehicle of suicide, I had to speak up and out just a little bit louder.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say and what I wanted to share. Let me start by saying from experience, depression is hard to live with. From experience, anxiety is hard to live with. From hands on experience with mentally challenged adults, bipolar disorder is very hard to live with. I feel as though people who “just don’t understand” it, don’t want to understand it. They don’t want to take the time to understand it because Google is right at their fingertips for everything else they don’t understand. If they can read, comprehend, then they can understand depression and anxiety. There are different types of depression and anxiety.

I’ve attempted suicide at least three times in my life and I use to think about it all of the time. Society didn’t make it better. Being African American made it worse. Anxiety and Depression is “crazy talk” in my community. We are slowly coming around to understanding that many of us, many African Americans, many people in our family, past and present, lived with untreated depression and anxiety. All because of the stigma that African Americans are strong and we don’t get depressed or have these mental issues that White people have. This is the dialogue I was fed for years. I think to myself, “Right, because slavery alone couldn’t have carried any long term, generational, mental and emotional consequences. And not to add just being a part of the human race alone and living life…nah, we couldn’t possibly show any signs of mental and behavioral disfunction. We made it through slavery, civil rights fights and Jim Crow laws, of course none of that affected any of us. And if we can make it through that how could we have depression and anxiety. Right?” Wrong.

There is so much I could I delve into but, the main things I want to convey is how I stay anchored to this Earth living with depression and anxiety. I went from not knowing I had it, to denying that I had it, to acknowledging I had it but, dealing with it on my own for years to finding a good psychologist that helped me understand depression and anxiety. In the midst of all that I took a journey of self love. A true and growing, deep, deep dive into self love coupled by actions that proved I loved myself that moved beyond manicures, pedicures, and shopping. It involves making choices that reflect my love of self and always remembering that “Self love is self preservation.” Self preservation also involves preserving my peace of mind and body.

Somewhere in this journey I began to understand and to feel God’s love for me. Oh I song it as a child, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” But, could I feel it? I couldn’t. I couldn’t understand it either. How could God possibly love me and allow all of these bad things to happen to me? It was not until I began to understand love from a Higher Power is different from this earthly love. It wasn’t until I began to make sense out what it is to have life and what is life. I am talking about what makes sense to me and not what others have fed me. I gathered my own information about life from a spiritual perspective and learning hard lessons from my own poor choices and just life experiences. It wasn’t until I started looking for my purpose. It wasn’t until I realized that my perception of life and it’s meaning was personal and universal. It wasn’t until I realized my idea of life will change and broaden. It wasn’t until I had a solid perception of death. It wasn’t until I understood that in order to feel God’s love I had to have a personal and deep relationship with God and that my relationship with God wouldn’t look like the church or others told me it would or should look like. God, the Creator, the Universe, loves me and that love is greater than the love I have for myself and the love that others have or do not have for me. Other’s not having love for me, falling out of love with me, does not give me a right to take my life. My precious life. Nothing, no pain, no tragedy, none of these illusions that make me think I can’t handle it, gives me a right to take my life. Not anymore. I didn’t say I don’t think about it, I said it does not give me a right. I choose life.

But it gives me understanding, why others do.  It gives me compassion for their souls. And I do not see them as weak. I see them as strong, fighting all of this time. I see them as not understanding things as I do or as others do. They are not me. I am not them. We do not, did not, will not, have the same experiences and carry them in the same way. We have other factors that weigh in. It is not my call. It is not my trial to judge. And I don’t do sending people to hell well either for suicide.

All of the love, all of the sadness, all of the inspiration from these two souls, that touched people from all over the world, they couldn’t see it or feel it. They couldn’t see it or feel it from their own friends, associates, and family. I couldn’t either. So, I understand what it’s like to be blind to all that is around you, to walk empty and to smile, to go through life like a robot. I understand how pain and not knowing how to deal with it, manage it, thinking irrationally, can send you to the edge over and over and over. So many things factor in. Too many unseen and unspoken for me to judge.

I anchor myself with love for myself (which includes therapy!), love for others, and love from God. I unhook that anchor sometimes…I get out there in the deep, but love…one or all of these loves bring me back in.

~Nikki

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Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: My Free Spirit vs Church, Religions, & The Conscious Crowd

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Contrary to popular belief, the free spirit does abide by rules and understands the need for rules in society and other entities. However, I can’t tell you how difficult it is when those rules confines your spirit, puts out your fire, and makes you reel with anguish. Almost, on the verge of quitting or ending a commitment. I think about quitting church quite often. When I make this statement, religious people go nuts and the conscious crowd cheers. I think to myself, hey,  I’m not too fond of some of your rules either.

I don’t think I am without some biases. I don’t think I am perfect. I think I am just myself. I’d rather worship God in spirit and in truth whether that be in a building or nature or at home. However, a free spirit needs community and community needs the free spirit. If only to set others free. I am labeled not a free spirit but, a rebel of some sort most of the time. I can see that! I own that. Especially, when I challenge a rule or break a rule. I am “making trouble” they say. I say I am just trying to “make sense” because you are really cramping my style, productivity, freedom, well being, happiness, and creativity.

Some rules should never change and some rules are meant to be changed as society or an organization changes or supposingly grows. I often think the reason a church or business may not see growth is because they are stuck on outdated rules (principles) and this is the way we have always did it. But heck, if it’s putting us to sleep or the competition is doing better…what in your mind doesn’t prompt you to CHANGE THE RULES OR CHANGE METHODS? Pride for the church and holding on to positions. Mindset of those in charge for businesses and holding on to positions. Change is good they say but, change can be slow and painful and some changes will not take place in my lifetime on Earth. And some changes make no sense s we have seen on a job coming from the higher ups that seem to be high when they make these “changes” the workers no will not work. Obviously, they are too high up to consult with us lowly workers (rolls eyes here). No way we could be smarter than they are due to our position.

So, here I am on a Sunday morning debating on whether to go to church or not. And it’s not just the church I attend (I have to state that because some people read my blog are members and ex members and they like controversy).  I get a phone call in the middle of this post asking if I can bring the highlights of Sunday School. Well, let me go get dressed.

~Nikki

 

Morning Self Pep Talk: You Can’t Turn This Train Around

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Morning Pep Talk to Self: “Ain’t no turning this train around. Where you gonna turn it around at? On the side of some mountain (problem/situation)? To turn this train around in the midst of adversity would be disastrous. To lose faith, give up, right now, right here would be a major set back. Power through baby. Full speed ahead.” -Nicole to Nicole

 

 

TGIF. Thank God I’m Free.

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Being Single is a status, becoming WHOLE is the part that requires WORK. But, the benefits of being whole allows you to SET FOLKS FREE & SET YOURSELF FREE without so much drama & trauma. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes it’s a “gtfoh” epitome. -Nicole D. Jackson

~Nikki

The Fallout of Protecting Your Peace

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Whenever you begin to set boundaries to preserve and protect your peace of mind and your sensitivity, or even to enforce those boundaries, there will probably be fall out from individuals who lack the respect of those boundaries. I have discovered that people want you to bend and break to appease them and often they wouldn’t do the same for you. Nor would I want anyone to compromise their peace of mind for me. And that is the difference. People will create problems, want you to solve them, and then become upset if you don’t. They don’t care if what they want makes you unhappy. This is blatant selfishness. Recognize this as a flaw in character. Also, people like this will often either get angry in hopes you will change your mind or run a guilt trip hoping for the same results. When you comply to neither they will call you mean and selfish (I am laughing as I type this) but, you and I both know they are merely describing themselves! Some leave you alone entirely or distant themselves.

You have to become okay with this. I know it may be difficult but, do not cave and compromise your peace or the sensitivity of your nature. I was created with a big heart and compassion but, not at the sacrifice of my own peace. Never again. Emotional manipulators are professionals at what they do. They have been use to throwing tantrums, running guilt trips and playing games to get what they want and you are left footing the bill, debt, or uneasiness. I stood my ground recently and I owe no one an explanation of what I want and why I want it the way I want it. I can’t do what you want me to do to make you happy and I am left to grin and bear it or wallow in the nagging feeling of “Why did I do that? Why didn’t I say NO?” Just remember even if you have the money or can accommodate someone’s request, if you don’t FEEL at ease, DO NOT DO IT AND OFFER NO EXPLANATION. You don’t have to explain your no.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Throw “That” Back

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What a week! Drama and Resolutions. Busy Mom, Sister, Daughter, and Auntie (which I always enjoy family), working on a project and just well, life. By the time Friday evening arrived I was exhausted and my legs (fibromyalgia) were giving me pure hell up until this morning. I finally have relief. This morning’s coffee musing is all about “throwing that back” and I don’t mean from the world of rap and hip hop where you shake your butt!

If something is not what you want or desire in your head, heart, and life then “throw that back.” If you are fishing and you pull up a shoe, I am sure you would either throw that back or recycle it. But trust me, the drama, the lies, the games, the people that want to stay sleep walking through life,  does not need to be recycled. Just throw all of that back. Back to the pits of hell or wherever it came from. If it arrives at your door unannounced then throw it back out. In fact, refuse to let it in. Once you realize that it is negative, a time waster, hurtful, then you need to get rid of it or neatly file it away under “not my problem.” We waste time on issues that people don’t want to resolve. We waste time on drama where people clearly enjoy drama and I say leave them to their drama and destruction and just be there to help pick up the pieces. You can not, CAN NOT,  help people that are:

1. Not telling you the whole truth and nothing but the truth

2. Love a life filled with hellishness

3. Don’t even know or care they have a problem

4. Just want attention

5. Don’t heed the advice give you

6. Have issues beyond your expertise

7. Liars and manipulators

8. Not ready for change

Now, if you find yourself getting into a funk about people and things out of your control(like I did this week), and it bothers your thoughts, throw all of that back. In my mind I picked up all the bull—- they brought or I went and got and put it back on their porch.

“Here ya go. Sorry I picked up this “crap.” I thought you needed help disposing of it but, I can clearly see this has turned into a crap slinging fest and it’s really messy. I don’t like messy.” -Nikki