“Dear Haiti, Love Alaine” – A Book Review

Hey y’all!

I won’t lie I did not like this book at all. This was not a good book at all. This was written by two sisters from Miami from Haitian descent. It’s a YA contemporary fiction? I put a question mark on it because there’s an element that would maybe change it but then again, I was confused. I should’ve DNF’d (did not finish) it like I was told to but I just had to finish it with the hopes that it got better. Newsflash, it didn’t!

I read this book for the book club that I’m in of teachers from Instagram. Read on about this disorganized mess of a book.

Synopsis

Co-written by sisters Maika and Maritza Moulite, and told in epistolary style through letters, articles, emails, and diary entries, this exceptional debut novel captures a sparkling new voice and irrepressible heroine in a celebration of storytelling sure to thrill fans of Nicola Yoon, Ibi Zoboi and Jenna Evans Welch!

Review

I did not enjoy this book. I wanted to like it but it was not enjoyable. Not a good time at all. I feel bad for leaving this type of review but I have to be honest. I didn’t like it. Took me weeks to finish it. This book was awful! It was poorly written. There was no real plot like it was confusing to read. This was terrible (I know I keep saying that but this book is horrible). I honestly wanted to like it. I really did because I’m from Miami and I expected them to write more about Miami but they didn’t. I definitely expected to learn more about Haiti because the main character, Alaine, went there and I learned nothing. She went there to learn about Haiti and her family history and she legit went there to work for her aunt and then became a “curse” breaker. Which, was the curse real or fake? They never explained that and what did that baby have to do with anything? Really, what did the kid have to do with a curse?

I would’ve loved more of her getting close to her mom but we didn’t really see that. I felt like this was thrown together poorly since it was written by two sisters and it was not enjoyable. I’m proud of them for writing this book and for the most part it received positive reviews but the bad reviews came from people like me, who felt like the me, were lost in the reading. I think that they had such high hopes and the book fell short. It was an unorganized mess and her banter with the other characters was awful in fact she just annoyed me lol. I didn’t believe her love interest at all.

I was hoping that this book would dispel any prior bias that I had about Haiti and Haitians. Being from Miami, I did have some Haitian friends so I was like okay this will help me understand them more but NO. This book did none of that. Growing up I’ve heard people call Haitians poor and dirty and that they eat cat but I did not see any of that so I treated it like just a discrimination of foreigners. But again, the book did nothing to dispel the rumors.

This is honestly a 2.5/5 stars

What book should I read next?

XOXO,

Nessa D

Get A Life, Chloe Brown – A Book Review

Hey y’all!

I’m not exactly sure how this book came into my life. Really I don’t! I’ve been sitting for a while trying to figure out how I found out about the book but to be honest, it hasn’t come to mind. However, what sold me was the cover: a little cat and an interracial couple (specifically a black woman and white man). I actually had it for almost a year but I finally got around to reading it, Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert. Want to know what I thought of book 1 of the Brown sisters.

Synopsis

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost- but not quite- dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “get a life” and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items? Enjoy a drunken night out; Ride a motorcycle; Go camping; Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex; Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage;And…do something bad. But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job. Redford “Red” Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also and artist who points at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit. But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Review

I thought it was cute. It was sweet. It was a nice little read maybe a beach read at that. It was cute although stuff happened pretty fast to me but I guess since they wanted each other for so long what did I expect? There were some pretty steamy scenes in this book and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting it (not like it was bad…it wasn’t). I haven’t read a book with like real sex scenes in it for years so I was a bit excited for that.

There were aspects where I found myself identifying with her in the sense that life was kind of passing her by and she was tired of depending on her parents and being under their watchful eye, which growing up was one of the reasons why I wanted to go away for college. Also, I have a cat and I’m scared with my debilitating anxiety and depression, so I can see where she was coming from with her “get a life” list. Maybe I should make one for myself? Ha ha! Another thing that I identified with was…I’m into swirling so I was really excited.

Red was pretty considerate and I know thats a strange thing to say but he really was. He was gentle with her and always was trying to make her as comfortable as always. I actually liked him like as a love interest.He ignored her when he knew she was just being difficult and not asking for help, which was what she truly needed.

Again it was a super cute read. Plus the setting is overseas in England so it’s like a little vacay in a book. I’m excited to read the other Brown sisters book although I heard that each book is a stand alone so there’s no real order to reading these books.

I give this book a 3.5/5

What romance book would you recommend to a hopeless romantic like myself?

The cover caught my attention so I had to have it lol

XOXO,

Nessa D.

I Hate it Here!

hey y’all!

For this post, I wanted to share an excerpt from my book, When the Wallflower Blooms. This month is Suicide Prevention Month and I just wanted to share my story. Major trigger warning for suicide with this one. Anyway, enjoy my little excerpt and if you want, check out my book here. Enjoy if and if you’re someone who needs help or if you or someone you know is struggling with his or her mental health, call the suicide helpline at (800) 273-8255. There’s nothing wrong with getting help. It’s not a weakness. Thank you!

Excerpt from When the Wallflower Blooms:

If this is a touchy subject or maybe a trigger for you, then don’t read this particular blog post. As I write this, its World Suicide Prevention Day. This is a pretty hot topic. More and more nowadays it seems like we hear more stories about someone who has killed his or herself. The age range varies from sweet innocent young children as young as 6 to the elderly. Back in the day, it was such a stigma to talk about suicide or even mental health. Now (thank goodness) there is more awareness on the topic and people are being more open about their mental health experience more than ever (I think that’s awesome!)

Anyway, suicide is a serious issue. According to the site Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in this country. A person commits suicide about every 12 minutes. I don’t know about you, but that fact freaks me out! Now before you all get all down my throat for not “being understanding”, I think you should know my story. That’s right! I have a suicide story for you all. I have had not one, not two, but three attempts. You read that right: three.

They all happened when I felt like I was at a low point in my life. I’ve always had thoughts of suicide (ironically I’m afraid of death) but I haven’t really acted on it until some years back. I remember my first attempt. I’m not sure how I survived it but it happened when I felt unloved, jilted, and I felt like things just weren’t going to get any better for me. I had sex with this guy (we’ll call “D” in a car and i knew deep down inside he didn’t want me but I wanted to feel needed. I actually ended up feeling super low about myself. I felt like no guy would ever take me serious. I stopped caring for myself. I stopped eating (although I was at my highest weight at this point but I believe it was due to the birth control I was on), showering; I didn’t do my hair; I barely slept…basically at that point I wasn’t living, I was just existing. I even contemplated checking myself in a behavioral health center (aka mental hospital) just because I knew what I was feeling (and doing) was not normal. 

I was in a really dark place. At the time, I felt like such a failure and a let down. People would tell me to just get over it (my problems) and just move on. Honestly, how could I when everyday I felt like shit? I felt like everything was my fault. Like  I was a failure. I lived my life full of regret. I felt guilty day in and day out. I had high hopes for myself and the way I was living was not the life I pictured for myself. At the time, I had no car, no apartment, I wasn’t in school because I was trying to work to save up money for tuition because I had to pay out of pocket. I just never pictured myself in that situation. I felt like I was a mistake when Jehovah made me. Can you imagine feeling like everyone hates your guts? I would pray that God killed me. I didn’t want to go on like that. I felt like a weak bitch. I wished I was dead or at least go back and have a do over in life. Now I know, everything I went through, there was a purpose for it. I thought Jehovah stopped listening to my prayers because of the wrong things I’ve done and at the time, I didn’t see how I can bounce back.

Usually, when I have one bad thought, I begin to go down a rabbit hole of despair. I think about all things that aren’t going well for me. Again, I experienced irrational thoughts whenever I would get so depressed that I felt like giving up on life. I felt ugly and didn’t think anyone would me. I felt hopeless, like I wanted to scream. It felt like I was all alone and no one would understand how I felt. At the time, I wasn’t in my career that I got my degree in, I felt ugly, and I didn’t have a lot of money. Now I’m sure you’re like “but money isn’t everything. Which is true. However, when you only have enough money to just pay your rent and nothing else or maybe if you didn’t even scrape up enough for rent, thats a big problem, at least for me it was. 

Others shared their concern with me and it made me feel judged and like people didn’t want me around. I was depressed. Then one day, “D” tweeted out that some chick made him “feel some type of way”. That drove me over the edge. I didn’t leave a note. I was going to a party that night and I didn’t tell anyone what I was feeling. I drank so much that I passed out at the party. On the way home from the party, I asked my cousin for a couple of her Ambien pills. Now if you don’t know, Ambien is a sleeping pill that is also a hallucinogen (for some who use it) and it was prescribed for someone who was much heavier than me (I’m not throwing shade at all but facts are facts). Just half of one put me to sleep and caused me to hallucinate…I took two. I also took six sleeping pills that night as well. So that night, I had alcohol, sleeping pills and prescription pills (I still don’t know how I woke up) and that’s insane. When I woke up the next day, I was told that I embarrassed my cousin in front of the guy she was talking to (which I literally apologize for). I immidietly told her what happened and she got mad. She was very angry that I tried to kill myslef and felt like it was a selfish thing for me to do.

I didn’t want to talk about it with anyone else. I started to keep all of this type of stuff to my self. Another time I tried to kill myself was actually when my crush left our job at Chick-fil-A. He was already missing shifts and I felt like he was avoiding me. Prior to him avoiding me, we were (at least how I felt) pretty close. He was (in a way) my best friend. He made me feel amazing.  He stopped talking to me for three weeks! I went crazy blaming myself for things and working about what he was doing and who he was with. Anyway, after he left, I got no goodbye or nothing. I went to work and since he didn’t say anything to me, I wanted to just give up and die (okay I must admit that was a bit dramatic) so I went home and took around 11-15 sleeping pills. I wanted Jehovah to just kill me and take away my torment. I couldn’t take life anymore. I felt like things would be better if I was gone. I cried as I thought of the prospect of me dying but I believed it was for the best. I know now that was just my anxiety and depression talking. Anyway, I woke up later that night (Oct. 18) and at first I thought I died and was super groggy. Again, I’m not sure how I woke up but I did. It’s crazy how I would just sit at work contemplating all the different ways that I could kill myself. I was unsatisfied with life and felt like it was time to take matters into my own hands. That was in no way a healthy thought. I was so attached to him that it just felt like a part of me died. 

The day that is most significant is the day I got into a car accident (btw, totally wasn’t my fault). I was having a terrible week and it seemed like it was one thing after another. Bad stuff kept happening to me. I was over the edge. One day, I saw something that just drove me over the edge. I remember being at work and crying and begging for them to just send me home; my supervisors refused. I sat in my boss’ office and cried for hours it seemed like; still no one sent me home. I was mentally removed from work. I called out on my second job (after school teacher). I then made up in my mind that I wanted to kill myself. I felt like I was a burden on people and that the best for me to do would be for me to kill myself (see how the mind lies to you?). When they let me leave (just shy 8 minutes left in my shift), I decided to head to CVS and buy sleeping pills to overdose on.

I was at a light. My radio was off. I looked at my phone. I notice a person on the side of the road with a bicycle. The light turns green. A person on a bike decided it was a good time to go across the street as the incoming traffic (us) have the green light. The car in front of me stops so I stop. The person behind me, however, doesn’t. I’m hit from behind. The person drove off. I screamed as I pulled into a Starbucks parking lot. Screamed. Screamed. Screamed. I texted my crush and told him to call me when he could. He did. I cried. Screamed. Cried. That was truly the icing on the cake. When I got home, I sat on the floor and cried. I didn’t know what to do. I barely slept. My cousin cussed me out because I yelled at her (in my defense, I told her I didn’t want to talk about my car accident at the moment because I was too emotional to deal with it). I just didn’t what to do or how to feel. My car was wrecked. I had the crappiest week ever! I felt so alone. When that accident happened, it showed me a lot about who would be there for me and who wouldn’t. It showed me that Jehovah is real (btw, on jw.org, this month they have an article that is right on time!). I leaned on him and he built me back up when I felt like I was at my lowest point in life.

Some may ask, “why didn’t you take medications?”. Well, I actually did…twice! I remember when I decided to take myself off of my medications for good. My general doctor (not a psychiatrist) prescribed them for me and for a while, I felt fine. It started out with one medication but the downside to that was that I couldn’t stay awake! I was always tired. Then she prescribed me a pill to wake me up. I felt like a zombie. One day, I said “fuck this”. I just wasn’t going to take it. “I don’t need it” I told myself. The intentions were very much true. I needed to learn ways to cope with things. Not dope myself up. Again, if medication is for you, great!  At one point in time, I really needed to get on medication. Like I said, I wasn’t taking care of myself at all. My depression and anxiety was out of control. As I said before, I eventually began to neglect my basic human needs like bathing or doing my hair. Mentally, it felt like I hit rock bottom. So yes, going on medication was like a breath of fresh air for me.As a side note, I actually told my doctor that I wanted to kill myself and she did not even consider sending me to a behavioral health center, which looking back now seems quite odd but then again, she’s the doctor. She knows what she’s doing. Anyway, eventually I wanted to learn how to cope with my depression and anxiety and not rely on my medications as a bandaid. I threw away my bottles with pills still inside of them. That was a huge mistake and I warn anyone out there to not just stop taking your meds. Talk to your doctor before you decide to go off on your meds cold turkey. For me, therapy is much more effective. 

Looking back, it was a blessing. For one thing, I’m still here. I didn’t kill myself! I thank him (Jehovah) for that. I still don’t quite understand why I survived my car accident (by the way my car looked, it was a miracle I survived with the damage and how hard I got hit). There were times I questioned why I was even born. I didn’t know God’s purpose for me. Ever since I decided to leave it in God’s hands, things have been better. Does it mean that my life has been perfect? Nope! Far from it. I went to counseling. I changed who I surrounded myself with. I left a job that was emotionally toxic for me. I had new beginnings. All because I’m still here. 

I would never judge someone if he or she took his or her own life. That’s not fair. I hate it when people say That’s selfish or My so and so went through hard times and so can you or the Can’t you just get over it? When it’s a battle with your mind, that’s not something that you can just easily get over. Like I said, I felt like I was a burden on others. I was thinking of others when I wanted to kill myself. I wanted life to be better; just without me in it. That’s what makes mental health tricky. People can’t see it so some act like it’s not real or that its a sign of weakness. It is not a sign of weakness. In fact, I wear it like a badge of honor. I’m pressing on in spite of my “issues”. That’s why I got my semicolon tattoo. To remind me that it’s okay to pause but to keep going. I look at it every now and then when I need a reminder that I can keep pressing on. 

Some people may feel all alone. If thats you, understand that you’re not alone. But also know that you can’t “get over it”. It will take lots of work. The healing process won’t be easy. But is it worth it? Heck yeah! If you know someone struggling, be patient and don’t make any ignorant comments. If you don’t know what to say, be honest. A friend of mine told me that she understands that I was depressed but she didn’t know what to say or do for me. I appreciated that truth be told. I’ve never really told anyone all of this and I hope that it’s helpful. I’m actually quite nervous. No one knew all of this. I kept it hidden. But today? I’m choosing to be truthful. You never know; my story may help someone. Anyway, hope the rest of your day is awesome.

XOXO,

Nessa D.

btw, you can purchase my book here!

Me Before You – A Book Review

Hey y’all!

If anyone was to ask me what my favorite book was, they’d probably assume its one of the Harry Potter books but they’d be wrong. The book that’s my absolute favorite is Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. This is hands down my favorite book. I first of this actually when I saw the preview come out for the movie. I thought to myself I must see this movie even if I have to watch it alone! When I found out it was a book, I was hella hype to read it. I had to read it first before I watched the movie and boy did I read this book!

Synopsis

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . . Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living. A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our StarsMe Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Review

Where do I even begin? This book was fantastic! I loved watching her love grow for Will. I loved seeing how she had initially a pretty alright outlook on life and when whatever happened to her happened (not spoiling anything here), it made her less sure of things in her life. I wish she honestly went to therapy for it because she kind of gave up and put other’s needs ahead of hers from that point on. And as for Will? First of all, in the book he was 35, older than he was in the movie adaptation (that bothered me a little). Anyway, I loved him in this version. He fell for Louisa pretty quickly and it was so easy to love him (me…I loved him).

One of my favorite moments were of course the heart to hearts. I heavily loved her talking to him about her life and what brought her joy and just him actually listening to her (like when he bought her the black and yellow stopped stockings) and when they went and got tattoos…ugh I loved them. And that trip to the island? A dream.

Even though it’s not the typical pairing, to see how the love happens organically was a joy. I think that’s what sold me on the book. How many people have we heard of with someone falling in love with a quadriplegic? The only other time from this book that I’d seen that was with Chris Norton (look him up. His story is amazing). Also, like this is the first time I read about assisted suicide (Luisa tasks herself with trying to change his mind about it) so that was interesting too.

TW (Trigger Warning): Assisted Suicide

I give this book 5/5.

What book made you fall in love?

XOXO,

LolaDasher

What Throwing Axes Taught Me About Myself + Affirmations

Hey y’all!

Recently I went axe throwing with an old coworker and man was it fun! I’ve always been interested in axe throwing ever since I saw a building pop up during my last few months in Tallahassee. I was intrigued. Kind of like those smash rooms where they put you in a room and you smash things with a bat. If you’re not sure what axe throwing is, it’s basically what it sounds like. It’s exactly like throwing darts but instead of darts they’re axes.

Anyway, school had just gotten out and we wanted to celebrate us leaving the school we were with and going to the district. Besides, we just really wanted to get together and hang out. I was super nervous to do it to be honest. I’m a pretty clumsy girl and my aim? Is not all that great. But I went anyway. Getting out of my comfort zone and doing things that scared me only made me feel wiser. Well after axe throwing, not only did I feel a bit better about myself, it showed just how strong I am! I felt powerful and invincible. Did I miss the target more than a few times? Hell yes but I still never gave up and I had so much fun!

If there’s something you’ve been itching to do, do it! Go on a solo date. Write that book. Throw that axe! You’ll be so glad you did. While you’re at it, enjoy these affirmations. Save them. Write them down. You’ll feel so powerful.

Affirmations for Strength, Courage & Power

  • With every drop of sweat, my self-doubt melts away.
  • I am stronger than my temporary painful thoughts. I will not let myself get trapped into a destructive cycle of thinking.
  • I can’t give up on myself. I deserve to live better than this.
  • I am enough.
  • I embrace the rhythm of life and let it unfold.
  • I can become anything I put my mind to.
  • I have the courage to stand up for my beliefs.
  • I have the power within to decide what I want, and how I want to live.
  • I am whole, I am learning, I am letting go.

What have you done that was out of your comfort zone?

This felt so Badass

XOXO,

LolaDasher

The Midnight Library – A Book Review

Hey y’all!

So I read this book, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, all the way back in January and I enjoyed it a lot. This was the January book for our Teachergram book club. This book deals with suicide (as a TW (Trigger Warning) there is a suicide attempt) and it’s a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. As with a lot of the books we read in our book club, I have never heard of it. When I ordered it, I had no idea that it was a book lots of people tried to get their hands on. There were back orders and places were running out of this book. People had to wait a while to order it even on Amazon. I guess I got to it right in time (I ordered in mid December). Even my bff had to wait on a waiting list at her local library so that she can check it out. Needless to say, I had some high hopes for this book.

Synopsis

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets? A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time. Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better? In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

Review

This was a beautiful book. I cried! A book never makes me cry. I identified with Nora so much. As you may or may not know, I have attempted suicide before and I sometimes have thoughts of suicide as well (thank goodness I never act on those thoughts) so it was really easy for me to understand where Nora was coming from. I find myself sometimes wishing things were different and going back in time to change situations. However, my choices (and life let’s be real) lead me to who I am today, so I’m not sure if I’d exactly want a do over….maybe with my crush I’d go back in time and tell him how I feel about him. Point is, I get it.

Nora tried many many different types of books that had lots of versions of her life. To me, each of them had a sad element to them and I guess the lesson is that no matter what, life is what we make it. We have to accept the good and the bad. I’d say my favorite version of life that she had was the last one. I won’t spoil anything but it just felt so safe and was the ultimate goals! The one I hated? I think the one where she lived at a winery or was it the one where her cat died right away (not a spoiler…in fact it’s one of her reasons why she wants to kill herself). I felt sorry for a fellow jumper that she met from time to time as she checked out books(lives). He allowed himself to be jaded and never really dealt with his feelings.

I won’t be shocked if it was made into a movie. This is a great book. Life is a journey and it’s up to us how we live it. It’s all about perspective. It’s a wonderful book. I don’t want to give too much away basically she hates her life and tried to take matters into her own hands but ended up with so much more.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars

What book have you read that has touched you in a way such as this had for me?

XOXO,

LolaDasher

When It’s Time to Let Go of the Past

Hey y’all!

So lately, actually scratch that. Every now and then I like to sit back and reflect over my life: where I am and where I’ve been and I must say, I’m truly blessed. God has blessed me so much and sometimes its necessary for us to reflect on it. Have I reached all my goals (like being a home owner, a wife, and a mom).

Let me paint a very real picture of where I was at a point in my life and how I’ve come and how God has blessed me. I once was homeless. At a couple of times in my life, I didn’t even have a bed to sleep on. I used to sleep on the floor or on an exercise mat. I used to have to choose between having gas in my car so that I can go to work or having something to eat, even though I’d just gotten paid but my bills were over taking me. I once used to just degrade myself hoping that the guy I liked would want me back only for them to play me like a dummy (speaking of, one reached out to me lately and I was like not today satan). I would walk up hill to my apartment in the rain, cold, or heat of the summer because there wasn’t a bus stop near where I lived. Me and my cousins would scrape together change that we had laying around the house just to get some gas in the car.

That’s just scratching the surface. My college years were real rough. Growing without my mom was rough (yes my dad died when I was a baby but I legit have no memory of him). Growing up with people making fun of me because of the way I looked and my bad teeth (y’all my teeth were BAD). Feeling misunderstood because I liked a certain type of music. It was pretty easy to take advantage of me because I was naive and inexperienced so it wasn’t hard for people who I would’ve thought was my friend to play me. I was touched in appropriately as a child once by a stranger in public and while I was in college once, someone (I won’t name names but I cal him Satan) ignored my no’s and did what he wanted (if you can read between the lines). Through it all, I’m still here.

My point with all of this is, sometimes I get a little sad or angry about what happened in the past. Hell, I remember when there was a point in my life where I wanted the things and problems that I now have. I’m glad that the things (and lets be honest the guys) I wanted before isn’t even on my radar anymore. I don’t know f this ever happens to you but sometimes when Facebook do those throwback pics, I look at those pics and just shake my head at the broken person I was before. I thank God for growth cause baby, I was a HOT MESS.

Focusing on the past can hold you back from your true potential. If you’re constantly looking back, how can you see where you’re going? Remember Lot’s wife (yes I’m referring to the Bible). If you’re unfamiliar with that story, basically God was rescuing Lot and his family from being destroyed. He was trying to help them and he told them to run away and (literally) never look back. What did Lot’s wife do? She looked back and legit turned into a pillar of salt! She lost her life focusing on something she was running away from.

The only time you should look back or focus on your past is when you are reflecting on how far you came. We can’t go back in time and change things. We should only focus on how things are currently and how we can either make better choices or how we can elevate our lives. It will keep you grounded and humble thats for sure. Don’t get it twisted. You can use your past to propel you. Sometimes you gotta share YOUR story with others so that you can bless them and inspire them.

What if you had a dream that you never pursued or didn’t work out? Well, that’s when you need to re-direct. I know some people say never give up on your dreams but sometimes there are times you need to throw in the towel. Sometimes, things just don’t work out but you know what? It could be a good thing. It’s really difficult to walk away from something that you put your heart and soul into but what if you were misusing your life’s purpose?

Let’s say you were in an unhealthy relationship. Let it go. How about when your dreams or goals in life isn’t in line with who you are now or where you want to go? You gotta let it go and pivot. What if there’s a goal that you really wanted but you really felt depressed, mad, and miserable? Is it worth it? Let it go. If you’re scared of what people will think if you quit because something isn’t really working out for you, are you doing this goal for other people or is it for you? If not, you need to stop. If the path you’re going down is hurting you and not helping you, you need to quit. If you truly look at yourself and the choices that you’ve made and you HATE who or what you have become, you need to let it go. When you give up on something and you feel lighter and better, then you know you should’ve let go of that dream or goal a long time ago.

Leaving your past in the past will free you. Letting go of things (and people) that can hurt you will free you. Allow yourself to be free. Check out my post about letting things go and letting God guide your life.

What do you need to free yourself from?

Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

XOXO,

LolaDasher

Instructions for Dancing – A Book Review

Hey y’all!

So for July for a buddy/group read with Booktuber Jaleesa (check out her channel), we read the book Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon. Yoon is the same author of the book Everything Everything (which I absolutely loved) so I was excited to read this book. What I have to say is not a spoiler alert at all!

Synopsis

If Evie Thomas knows one thing, it’s that love doesn’t last. When she sees a couple kiss, she gets a vision of their whole relationship, from the moment they first catch each other’s eye to last bitter moments of their break-up. It’s more than enough reason for her to keep boys at arm’s length. But then, at La Brea Dance Studio, she meets X – tall, dreadlocked, fascinating. And as they dance around and towards each other, Evie finds herself wondering if, after all, love might just be worth the risk…

Review

It was a cute quick read. Like I don’t know. For someone so cynical about love she fell in love pretty quickly the way she just allowed it to happen.It just made me think of when (and to be honest, I still feel this way) I felt like love was out of my reach. Like other people can be happy and in love except me because well it hasn’t happened yet. I know what it’s like to feel jaded by love and to not believe in it anymore. I identified with Evie in that way. Jade’s parents’ divorce left her feeling pretty jaded and a negative Nancy when it came to other people’s relationship.

X was the one I felt for the most. He genuinely seemed nice. I wish I had his outlook on life. Some people perspectives on life changes when someone they’re close to dies (in X’s case it was his best friend…not a spoiler) and so X was more say yes to any and everything. I prefer to be a realest and see things how they really are.

Love wasn’t the only thing this booked about but also friendship and the changes that comes along with it. Evie is a senior in high school so of course they deal with things seniors deal with when it comes to friendship. Will things stay the same after graduation? I think we all know the answer to that one. It’s cute

I give this book a 3.5/5 stars. If you’re into ballroom dancing, music, and love/friendship, this is the book for you. This is definitely going in my classroom library!

What book have you been loving lately? Share in the comments!

XOXO,

LolaDasher

How to Deal with Grief

Hey y’all!

Grief has been on my heart and mind for a while now and I decided to go ahead and talk about it because maybe what I’m going through someone else is going through it too and you never know who you’ll bless. Grief, just like healing, ebbs and flows. Some days, I’m good. Other days, I’m a mess. From looking at my social media, I can tell that others are feeling the same way. Hell, one of the bloggers I follow (and former high school classmate) is dealing with the death of her father from COVID (we’re still in a pandemic people)! In fact, a Facebook post inspired this blog today!

So what is grief? Basically it is deep sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death. However, it doesn’t have to be limited to death, we can grieve all types of situations! You can grieve relationships (romantic, platonic, family) that ended, your former self, loss of (and in) your community, traditions gone, and of course death. Grief is not linear. It ebbs and flows. I know for me, it’s been hitting me a lot lately, but it really hits me when change is happening or if I’m feeling low.

For example, lately, I’ve been missing my childhood. I went home recently and I can tell you, things felt off. It didn’t feel like the same house I grew up in. I’ve been getting flashbacks to when I was growing up, when I was reading in the living room, all the way down to just going in the kitchen. I would especially get these flashbacks late at night when I’m going to bed. I miss not having all of these issues that I have now. I miss being a kid, free from any real responsibility. I miss my grandfather as he was my father figure. Sometimes, I feel sad because I’m starting to forget what he sounded like. It makes me so sad that he’s not here anymore. When I went home in June, I felt really hurt and a sense of loss.

Something else I grieved was the loss of my friendships and relationships. Yeah my family has hurt me in the past, but I’m still sad that things didn’t work out the way I planned. I thought we would be tight forever, but it can’t and won’t happen. I understand that things happened the way that they were supposed to. They weren’t good to me and while it’s not okay, I’m far better off without them. What I learned is that not everyone deserves access you. Forgive them (check out this post) and move on.

Grief comes in many forms. Maybe we grieve a marriage or loving relationship that is ending. Maybe you are freeing yourself from a toxic family member or friendship. Maybe you’re changing your religion. Maybe you have to mourn the person you once were. Maybe there’s an illness that affects your life and you have to adjust to new circumstances. Maybe you loss a pet. Maybe you lost a loved one. Maybe you lost your faith. There’s plenty of things to grieve. The question is: what are you going to do about it?

What can you do to help yourself with grief?

  • Therapy! Talk to a professional! There’s online counseling now or you can go to a therapist in person. The point is, talk to a therapist. It doesn’t make you weak.
  • Acknowledge your pain. Don’t ignore it, it will only make you feel worse!
  • Take care of yourself physically as well as emotionally. In our grief sometimes we tend to let ourselves go. Working out can help you get those endorphins going. Eating a healthy meal can do wonders for you. Writing things out can help as well.
  • Accept help. People care about you. Let them help you. Rest when you can
  • Talk about it. I know I mentioned going to therapy but you really should share your thoughts with a loved one. You’ll be surprised who’d be there for you and how better you’ll feel afterwards. Remember, you’re not a burden. People care for you and love you.
  • Understand that grief can manifest in different ways. Your grief will show up and show out in many different ways. You might become forgetful. Maybe you’re lashing out more or even more withdrawn. You might not be able to sleep or maybe you’re sleeping more. Point is, it can show up in different ways. Be aware of it.
  • Embrace your grief. Don’t fight it or try to ignore it. Let yourself feel your grief.
  • Forgive yourself and others. The past is in the past. We can only accept things for what they are now and plan your next move. Think about what your past situation taught you.
  • Pray. Ask God to help you and he will help you. Jehovah God is close to those who are broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18). He loves you and cares for you.
Check out this video for what to tell people as they greave
This post on Facebook inspired this blog post

Why not check out the book If Grief Could Talk: poems to Move Through Grief with Grace and Honesty by Lorelle Oliviera or even my book.

What has helped you with grief? What advice resonates with you?

XOXO,

LolaDasher

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time- A Book Review

Hey y’all!

I’m back with another book review! Today, I’m reviewing a book that has taken me a really long time to read. That book is the curios incident of the dog in the night-time by mark haddon. Like I said, it took me a really long time to start and finish this book. I actually first saw this book when I worked as a paraprofessional (teacher’s aide) back in undergrad. I picked up the book, started reading it then put it down once I found out that it included the murder of a dog. I legit said nope and put it down.

I kept hearing great reviews for the book and I thought that I should just give the book an actual chance and read it. I had to see for myself if this book was as good as other people have made it to be. There were many twists and turns in the book that I did not foresee.

Synopsis

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. This improbable story of Christopher’s quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.

Review

If you couldn’t tell from the synopsis, Christopher has autism. It does not mean he is less intelligent than other people, he is extra sensitive to noise and crowds of people. He doesn’t get or understand our social cues. He’s really different from others who may not understand him, in fact, when he got with strangers, they thought he was quite odd. It was hard to read to be honest because was so much information but I loved seeing him do things he was afraid of and how he changed. It Definitely gave me a view of what life is like for someone who has autism.

First of all, it started with a dog murder. I love animals so it was hard to read that someone had purposefully killed a dog. Once I got over that, I slowly made my way to read the book. The story is told from Christopher’s perception and it was so well written that it really just took me time for me to digest what I read. It was just really well written. From people doubting his ability to pass A-level maths ( British thing this American knows nothing about) to him trying to write a book and figure out who killed the dog.

As I mentioned before, he’s very sensitive to crowds and noise and doesn’t like to be touched by strangers, seeing all that he was able to do by the end of the book was remarkable. I know plenty of people who wouldn’t have done what he did. Even down to the format of the paged themselves, it really tied everything together. I’m trying not to give too much away but he finds out some pretty earth shattering information about his life. Information that I easily identify with. He learns a secret about his family and it has to do with a lie he was told as a child. Again, I’m trying not to spoil the book!

I gave this book 4/5 stars. Wow is all I have to say. What book have you enjoyed lately?

XOXO,

LolaDasher