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Last week, I joined in on a call with my friend Yeatoe MacIntosh of 'Herfidence' as she presented on relationships. I was so tired from my prayers I thought I would not have the time to make it. But after examining and the Holy Spirit ushering me to get on, I was so glad I did because the message she was presenting on, was exactly what the Word of God was on that particular day. Also, the need to find peace with self and others. More importantly, I have been writing a lot about relationships. For a relationship to be productive, the individual has to be happy and content with themselves and others. It is very difficult to give from an empty cup. It was at this gathering I remembered the socioecology of relationships.

Let me tell you a little story :) Life has a complex way of teaching us lessons...if we choose to see them. For a long while, after I was medically retired from the US ARMY, I felt like I had lost my identity among other things. I suffered from an illness that looked "fine" on the outside, while I suffered on the inside. During this time, I learned to do makeup so that I could cover my "battle wounds" and had indeed personified the nickname, "Combat Barbie". When Combat Barbie was out, folks were too interested in her that Tiki was safe from questions and sometimes, interrogations. But at the same time, Tiki managed to isolate herself. Interpersonal relationships began to die as Tiki was no longer "fun". Heck, her own relationship with herself died (why am I speaking of myself in the third person? :)). I began searching for self and a greater purpose. I sought more from God, the only one I still had hope in...and of course, doing a lot of soul searching. It was time for some introspection. What was I doing and how were my actions contributing to my state of mind, body, and spirit? At first, this was very hard to do because although I had a valid reason, it did not change the fact that I still had a responsibility to self, for self (living my best life), and to the people around me.

As I began to look inside myself, I realized that I was too consumed by a debilitating illness but because I had learned to cover it with makeup, I'd also learned to cover and stuff down my emotions. What I did not realize is how my negative behaviors and emotions were spilling into every other aspect of my life. I had come to a place where I needed to change things in order to get different results. Genius! Right? lol The more I introspected, taking into considerations that I too may be part of the problem, I looked at how I was contributing to the problem and why it was happening. Please, do not be mistaken; this is a daily task which should lead to some level of maturity...wink! Wink! As if matters were not dia enough, I studied Psychology in school. Why then was this so hard to do? When you have to admit that you may be part of the problem...that's tough! Boy! Don't I know it.

Around the end of 2018, I began to love me more and more. I did not have to hide under makeup anymore...although, I still love the art and how it can boost anyone's confidence in themselves; make you walk a little talker. It's amazing what some highlighting and contouring will do. I was able to take off my wig at church during anointing service, (say what? lol) or my eyelashes as it began slippering off :). I had gotten to a place of enlightenment. A place where I could be myself as much as society would allow me to. I was comfortable with myself. Makeup or not, embarrassing or not, I was just fine. I did not mind the judgmental looks and chit-chats; and still don't mind the now, amazement. But what a relief it was to just be me. Oh, how I love my AUTHENTIC self. the question to you now is, now that you have heard my journey to self-discovery, how do you show up? How do you contribute to the problem or solution? Have you thought of that? What does the socioecological model mean to you? Where do you see intersections? What are some things you can do to change the narrative? For me, my relationship with my God has become the most important relationship because when medication could not help me, He did. Psalms 46 and 91 kept me sane. Songs like the one attached were and are very soothing to me. It is no wonder I LOVE helping people heal through my stress relief bath bombs. Life is too stressful to be stressed lol

Every so often, a little time for self is very necessary. Please do not allow your obligations and situations to continue to deplete you; to dictate who you should and ought to be. You are worth the time for yourself. Try my bath bombs and tell me whether they are not divine. You are worth it. Sign in and become part of The Euphoric Palace family. Let's talk! I want to know your take and opinions.

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