Taking Life advice From 6th Graders

Hey y’all!

A few weeks ago, when the school year was close to ending, and I wanted the kids to do some life changing activities (check out this post). I chose the activities with the intentions that they will see a deeper purpose in what we did and the impact that each one of us had on each other. I got the idea from the Secondary English Coffeeshop which can be found here.

You may, what kind of impact can kids make? Well, look at Malala Yousafzai. At a very young age (around 10) she started speaking out for girls’s rights to get an education. Greta Thunberg is a very brilliant young lady who fights for our planet and is a very outspoken environmentalist. Some adults feel like children don’t have enough life advice so they don’t have to pay attention to what they have to say. That is wrong, if we adults listen to what they have to say, we can help to foster a loving and open relationship and can close that generational gap.

Below, you will see some advice that my students gave. I didn’t modify or change what they wrote so if you see poor grammar or spelling (word choice), remember they were written by kids.

Life Advice

  • “I have learned to never give up and keep going even if you are doubtful” – age 11
  • “Don’t get involved with drama and don’t take it too seriously” age 12
  • “I have learned that people say that they want to die but they don’t know the true meaning of life yet” – age 12
  • “School is hard but never give up” – age 12
  • “I have learned that effort pays off when you try your best” – age 12
  • “Never judge a book by it’s cover the person could be very fun” – age 11
  • “I have learned that if you saved up money you can get the stuff you want. I have learned that when you grow up yo have to earned money. I have learned that when you have a due date you have to finish by that day” – age 12
  • “I have learned that life is not what you think but enjoy it” – age 11
  • “I have learned to not trust everybody because some people are fake. I have learned to always keep your best friends close and always treat the right so you don’t lose them” – age 12
  • “I have learned that kids see more of school then at home” – age 11
  • “Don’t steal” – age 12
  • “I learned that even if you don’t succeed it’s ok because at least you tried your best and thats all that counts” – age 12

What piece of advice resonated with you?

Again, just because they’re young, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t value what they say and how they think. We’re never too old to learn (or re-learn) lessons and truths. Let’s not have life leave us jaded (which can happen if we let it). The next time you’re around a child, ask them what they think about a topic. You never know what truth bombs they’ll drop.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

xoxo,

LolaDasher

Amari and the Night Brothers Book Review

Hey y’all!

I’m coming at you today with a book review. Book reviews are something that I want to start doing on my site. It’s no secret that I love books! I’m a writer, an English teacher and I’m a bookworm. It’s actually something that I’ve come to embrace about myself and I’m so happy to have found a community in which I can share my love of books.

So, to kick things off, here’s my first book review! I read Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston. I heard some pretty good things from others with this book and I was excited to read it and add it to my classroom library. I actually did a first chapter friday (in which i read the first chapter of books to my students on Fridays to get them interested in books) and it hadn’t arrived in the mail yet! I was that excited for it.

Synopsis

Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alone. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good. So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet containing a nomination for a summer try-out at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton—if only she can wrap her head around the idea magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real. Now she must compete for a spot against kids who’ve known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can’t seem to escape their intense scrutiny and doubt—especially once her own supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed “illegal”. With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her classmates thinking she’s an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

Reviews

I enjoyed it! I do think that it is great for middle grades and maybe older reluctant students to read. It’s a thick book but its really quick paced. The chapters aren’t too long for them to read. Some parts of the book to be honest were a little annoying just for the simple fact that I love following the rules and I’ve been that way since I can remember so to see Amari be so stubborn annoyed me a little but there is a quote out there that says “well behaved women seldom make history”.

I could identify with where she felt like she didn’t know where to belong. I love a good underdog motif and this gave me it. Especially as a young black girl ( or any minority to be honest) always feeling like people misjudge you or don’t think you deserve certain things is rough. They don’t know how hard you have to work for something thats just given to them. Amari went to a good school and had to deal with mean girls who called her all types of horrible names because she was black and from a rough neighborhood. I had to deal with mean girls in college who felt like I didn’t deserve to be there and was looked down upon so I can definitely understand where she came from with that. That is just really important for kids to see in books. Like I always say, representation matters.

The writing itself was great. He did a great job with building the world like I can envision the scenes as they were happening. It kind of low key reminded me of Men in Black because where normal people would just see a person, through magic eyes (eye drops she put in her eyes) they were actual creatures and aliens. Some of the different “jobs” that I would’ve been interested in was like maybe the dream one with good omens or bad omens. It just seemed like a pretty cool place to work. I know some people would be like magic, shouldn’t that remind you of Harry Potter and a little it does! But that aspect of deceiving the eye reminded me of Men in Black.

All in all, I’d give it a 4/5! To check it out, check out local bookstores, libraries, Target or Amazon.

What books have you read lately? I’m always on the lookout for more!

XOXO,

LolaDasher

Self-Publishing My Book- My Journey

Hey y’all!

Well…a few months ago, I self-published my book! I was and still is super excited. Actually, I am still experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions. In fact, if you haven’t checked it out, I wrote a blog about how I felt about becoming a self-published author and you can read about it here.

This post here will be about the whole process of publishing via Kindle Direct Publishing (kdp). Now, I don’t know any other self-publishing options out there (in fact, if you know of any please share in the comments). I would preface by saying that this is my experience. You may have an easier time with it or a harder time with it. This post is not about the book writing process (in fact I can talk about that in a different post) but the self-publishing PROCESS. Not the

So, lets get to the first question of why I chose to self-publish my book. I chose to self-publish my book because I wasn’t sure if a publishing company would deem my book as worthy to publish it. Cara Alwill (one of my favorite bloggers and authors) was denied by publishers 19 times. 19! She chose to self-publish her books and she has benefited from it. Self-publishing allowed her to take control and make the decision that people needed her book and she has become a best selling authors. Sarah Ordo (again, someone I have talked about a lot on this site) self-published all of her books as well and it worked out well for her as well.

These women chose to take control of the narrative. They believed in themselves when others doubted them and they both have been very successful. I saw that and I wanted that. Ever since I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be an author and with self-publishing, I made it happen. That just goes to show you that even if other people doubt you or don’t believe in your craft, keep pushing forward.

Another reason I wanted to self-publish was because of the fact that I had control. I can control the price. I can control (kind of) the royalties. I can control when it comes out. It’s print on demand so I don’t have to order so many and then go sell them independently. It takes the hassle out of having to carry so many books with you and push them out to people and businesses. Again, marketing has a lot to do with how many books you sell! So it is up to you to promote your book. You can’t just publish it and sit back.

If you chose a different publishing route, you could end up with a lot of physical books to sell. Speaking of physical books, your books are available in different formats! In Kindle, paperback, and recently hardcover (right now they’re doing beta sellers and my book is available in hardcover). You can also record it as an audiobook! The options are endless!

The course that I took that helped me was from Sarah Ordo. I saw that she was having in person workshops and I asked her if she’ll do one for us folks that weren’t in her area and I guess other people had the same question and she decided to make her course available online. Another lesson: reach out to those who you look up to. You never know the outcome! Anyway, she made the course and I purchased it. I watched that course sooo many times and I still go back and revisit it because it’s not only a self-publishing course but also a self-promotion course as well! So it’s honestly a bang for your buck.

Formatting

This part was super difficult. Now here’s the thing. You do have the option to just upload your word doc as is but I was told that it would look more professional if I used one of their “models” and just copy and paste my work on the pages. My book to be honest is full of page numbering errors because of it. It was really difficult for me to get correct and maybe it would’ve taken me an extra day or two to get it right but I was on a deadline and wanted to get it out by my mom’s birthday, so I sent it to publishing. The good news is that you can always update your book. All you have to do is go to your book on kdp and just upload the most recent copy of your manuscript. So not all hope is lost if you make a mistake but you do want to put your best out there initially.

Royalties/Pricing

since it’s published by Amazon, it’s available worldwide. You don’t have to worry about converting the money. They do it for you which is super helpful. Of course they take a lot of the money you make but they’re also printing on demand and sending it out for you so I guess you don’t have to (that’s why its important that you market your book and put it in as many hands as possible). Another thing to consider when using kdp is the payout. They payout to you at the end of every two months. For example, I published my book in March and at the end of May I got my first royalty check. Sarah mentioned that in her course so I was prepared for it and it happened just as she said. Now, if you don’t do direct deposit and you do paper checks, that time frame would obviously be longer. Be aware of that.

Cover Design

This is another area that just bothered me to my core. It was difficult af! Like my best friend designed my cover and by the way, if you have someone who designs covers, go ahead and use them. If you’re not a designer, they have options for covers for you to choose from. Back to my drawbacks with this cover design. It was so hard. you can upload a cover you have but it has to be a specific type of file and it’s very difficult to change. Like I did my best with my book but I had my best friend who is a graphic designer and it was HARD for her! Your image has to fit within the screen and honestly, the best thing to do is call them and have them walk you through it because it is NOT easy!

In fact, that’s another big advice. Call them. Call them for everything! They’re available 24/7 so don’t be afraid to call them for every little thing. You’re going to be frustrated at some point in the kdp process so call them. CALL THEM ASAP and save yourself the headache.

To check out Sarah’s course, click here for $60. When I bought the course it was for a cheaper price since it was the launch of it.

And to check out my book, When the Wallflower Blooms, click here to check it out!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I will do my best to answer them!

XOXO,

LolaDasher

Year Two of Teaching is Done!

Hey y’all!

Year two is officially done. We were done on Tuesday…I take that back. The student’s last day was on Tuesday (May 25th) and our last day was Thursday (May 27th…at 2:00pm). This year has not been easy for a long shot. This was….such a long year it feels. Teaching already is such a tough job to do but add in COVID restrictions and it was….a shit show. Where do I even begin?

First, our start date was up in the air. We had no idea on what day would be the first day of school and the school decided to start around August 10, 2020. Apparently we started with around 300 students in the building (we were on a hybrid model all year) and by the end of the year, over 1,000 students were back in the building. I work at a title 1 school so I was quite surprised at the number of kids we had starting out in the building (although to me, more middle school students were there than elementary so the change wasn’t felt that much).

We had kids who either didn’t really have internet access at home or students who just didn’t show up who were failing the first semester back. See, when we all were sent online in March of 2020, pretty much anything went. It was such a huge learning curve that basically it didn’t matter if kids showed up or did the work at all, they were going to pass regardless (thanks Gov. DeSantis) so by the time school started that fall, the kids thought that it didn’t matter if they showed up or did the work…they’d pass (boy were they wrong). Many were shocked to find that yes indeed it did matter whether they showed up and did the work or not.

Another big learning curve the students had to hurdle were that they had more than one class. If you don’t know, I teach 6th graders so this is their first time juggling multiple classes and having to earn credits to graduate middle school (and high school). I made sure to tell the parents when work was due and I stressed it to the students. I even warned them that if they didn’t tighten up, they’d be making up the credit (basically retake the course) that they didn’t earn on top of the work that they would have in their other classes. Again, it fell on deaf ears until they got called down to the office about them taking course recovery classes. Some even were mistaken because they focused solely on course recovery and not on the assignments they had at hand.

Another thing we had to deal with was no lunch break. Don’t get me wrong, we had a time that we had to eat lunch, but it was in the classroom, which meant us teachers had to be with the students ALL DAY. They did try for a few days to have the students go down to the cafeteria to eat but that was a complete shit show. They couldn’t figure out a time when the kids could safely eat lunch and let’s be real, there was no social distancing at all in the cafeteria. They tried to say three students to a bench but eventually, they all would scoot close to their friends. It was pretty rowdy but then again, it was the only time they can really talk to their friends. They had so many confusing methods of trying to have them eat lunch in the cafeteria that after three or four days of confusion, kids were back in the classroom eating lunch with their 5th period class. Again, no real social distancing and they were again rowdy because it was a time for them to socialize. I guess the way admin saw it was that it was our problem. On another note, my 5th period was awful because it was the longest class of the day and I had a bad mix of kids. Individually they (the majority of them) were fine but mix them up? It was a nightmare.

There was no real educational support. We didn’t have an ESE teacher (special ed teacher) and we only had two ESOL specialist for the entire school (grades K-8th) so needless to say, we all kind of struggled with that one. Some students who needed a more self-contained classroom was with the general population and it was hard to manage them and their needs with the needs of others both in the classroom and online. We all did our best but it was really hard. Plus we had to do certain things that I personally did not feel comfortable doing but for the sake of education, I did it. Basically, we weren’t allowed to fail students with IEP’s (even if they didn’t do the work) because we didn’t have an ESE teacher.

Another way in which we didn’t have support was with discipline. Again, I worked at a title 1 school so sometimes there was low parental involvement. A few parents were willing to work with us and tried to help when we called or emailed them about their child’s behavior. Others…we never heard back from until the week before school ended when they magically found our emails and wanted to know what their child can do to pass or who were outraged because they were “never told” (lie) about their child’s progress. Admin also wasn’t much help either. The response was long and sometimes, never really addressed. The kids thought that they can get away with their terrible behavior and for repeat offenders, we just had to deal with it. It’s not like they didn’t know which kids were problems, they knew, they just never really did anything about it. Don’t even get me started on the N-word incident I had at my school (see this post here). I got called the N-word twice and admin did nothing about it.

Also, the more kids came back in the building, the less social distancing it was. Some of the parents were even shocked as to the students being near each other. A lot of social distancing rules went out the window but us teachers did the best we could with the situation. We weren’t allowed to use paper in the beginning but then by the end, they wanted us to use paper but we weren’t allowed to print them ourselves. We had to send it to someone else and hope that they saw the email and was able to print them out. We also had trouble with the technology themselves. I suggested we invest in a program to help monitor and control the student devices so that they weren’t going on YouTube and secret chat rooms and basically doing everything else they weren’t supposed to. They kept promising they’d have something to deal with it and it NEVER happened. For next year they said they were going to invest in a program like that (yet again) but we shall see. Don’t even get me started on teaching both online and in-person students simultaneously.

I’m sure you’re like, did you enjoy the year at all? The answer to that is yes! There were aspects that I enjoyed. Like getting to spend the whole year with my students. Previously I only spent the half year with them so this was the first group I had all year. Another thing I enjoyed was getting to know my students and their backgrounds. They saw that I cared and a lot of them opened up to me about their home life or troubled past. I also enjoyed the fact that some were reading books! A lot did not want to read at all and with the help of First Chapter Friday, by the end of the year, I had kids asking to borrow books and kids reading! Also, I had the chance to have my first real Teacher’s Appreciation Week (read about it on this post). I grew to love so many of my babies that by dismissal on the last day of school, I was in tears because I would miss them so much. I loved building and fostering relationships with them.

So, what am I looking forward to now? Enjoying my summer and relaxing. I’m applying to work at other schools but I have been asked back so if I don’t get another position, I’ll be back at my current school.

If you’re a teacher out there and you’re not on break yet, I’m praying for you. Our job is not easy and it is definitely not for the faint of heart. We’re all in this together!

Some wise words from 12 year olds
This was sweet. This kid here….was really sweet but man he was a lot to deal with lol
Pajama day
Wearing Blue for autism. This year was the year that I had the most autistic kids in my classes. Last year I had just one student

XOXO,

LolaDasher

I Tried Speed Dating (Online)

Hey y’all!

So as most of you know (or may not know if you’re new here…if so, hi), I am a hopeless hopeless romantic. There’s nothing I want more than to be settled and in a relationship. I’ve got wedding bells and babies on my brain and I’m not ashamed to admit that. What I am ashamed to admit is that…I’ve never had a boyfriend. Throughout my whole lifetime I’ve been on maybe two (or two and a half?) dates. Like that’s it. I hate that.

It’s tough when I see all these people around me getting married and having babies and getting in relationships and I can barely get anyone’s (poke’boy’s) attention. It’s a pretty lonely life that I have. Like what’s wrong with me that I can’t get into one fucking relationship? It has to be me because…it just has to. Everyone who knows me is probably sick of me complaining of my single status woes so I usually choose to just suffer in silence. I read romance books because it’s the only kind that I can get in my life and well…it’s pretty depressing.

I usually come home, get in bed and cry…alot. The older I get, the worst it seems. It’s never ending and I hate it. I just want to be a wife and give birth to a couple of babies. That’s legit not too much to ask, is it? I’ve tried the dating apps but…it’s either pay a bunch (and I mean a shit ton) of money to meet people you’re not attracted to or resort to world of free dating apps where there’s a lot of…people I’m either not attractive to or who will never go for anyone like me (btw I did talk about my experience on this post if you want to check it out). Others have met their person at work or at school. Hell, some have even met their person by chance while out with their friends or simply shopping.

What’s a girl to do when there’s a pandemic and you can’t really go places? And even if I did go places, its typically at work or Target or Publix. Those are the places you can most likely find me. My therapist suggested going to a coffee shop but…I don’t even know how to catch someone’s eye. The three guys that I did end up talking to on the dating apps…one was trying to get too serious too fast and played video games all day. The other just wanted pics of my boobs all the time even though I told him how I wasn’t comfortable with sharing those types of pics because someone betrayed my trust (I did end up sending him like two pics but I was so disappointed in myself that I just ignored him). Besides, that guy was living at home, getting high and drunk all the time and there’s def more to life than that. The last straw was someone who was 30 and I thought okay, he got his shit together….boy was I wrong. He ended up being a wanna be rapper who got high all the time. BTW all three I met on Hinge which is really disappointing.

One of my coworkers recently met her boyfriend on Hinge and I’m like…wtf. How did she get a good one and I keep attracting trash? All I want is a hot nerd who reads books and like coffee and Marvel, Harry Potter, and DC. Someone who’s a christian and doesn’t mind cats. I’m so over people who waste my time. I just feel super frustrated because I’m not getting any younger and I’m still single like it sucks. I would love to just wake up and go to a brunch date on like a Saturday.

I’m over people telling me to just be patient and it will happen when it’s supposed to…fuck that. I’m sick of this shit. I want a man. I’ve paid for courses to help me with interracial dating. I’ve bought books on how to get a guy and what to expect when dating interracially and…I want my man. My therapist always encourages me to get out there but I don’t know where to begin. It’s not like I go many places and when I do I’m so shy I don’t know how to converse or what to say. Again, how do I get a guy’s attention? Like, what do I do?

She’s encouraged me to give dating apps a serious try which I kind of have. it’s just a vicious cycle of tools and guys who only want to have sex with me or guys that I’m just not interested in. Then there’s also the issue of guys that I send likes to that never sends one in return. I know rejection is just a part of life but it sucks. Plus, I don’t handle rejection well (remember this post). When I like someone and I mean I really like them and I get rejected, I 9 times out of 10 want to die. When someone I don’t like rejects me, I just get sad and feel like a relationship will never happen.

So how did I end up speed dating online? Well, my therapist (and my aunt) encouraged me to find a group on meetup and maybe I’ll find someone I liked. The idea of meeting complete strangers and putting myself out there terrifies me but, yolo. She said that I had to get used to the idea of getting rejected. I first started getting used to rejection on Hinge which was a good first step in a way but now I was encouraged to go out and meet people with similar interest, hence using meetup.

During one of our sessions, we went through the group and I stumbled upon a singles group to join. We both agreed that it’ll be a great way to connect to meet people. So what I did next shocked everyone…I paid for a speed dating event (online of course because…covid). I paid the $20 for two months worth of speed dating events. How the even would work is you get an hour and a half and you have eight minutes each to video chat with each person. If you found someone you were interested in, you can request an extra five minutes to chat and/or connect after the event. After I made the payment, panic began to set in. What the fuck did I just do?Will anyone find me attractive? Will I meet anyone interesting? Anyone serious? Will I find anyone attractive? Will I meet my future husband and father of my children? I texted my two BFF’s and told them what I’ve done. Of course they said they were proud of me but I was mentally freaking out.

I panicked all week leading up to it and finally I called Karina because I just didn’t know what to do or say and she said something that was so simple and was like an aha moment: if I didn’t like it I can close the screen. I had the power and I was like….ahhhhh you’re right! So that took lots of pressure off…along with the reminder that I can’t put so much weight on this experience (i.e. stop telling yourself you’re meeting a husband on there)

So how did it go? I can safely say that I have survived. There were a lot of guys that were old or unattractive and I simply skipped the call. No need in wasting their time if I’m not interested. I did meet one person that I thought was interesting but he lives so far (tbh if he was interested in long distance I’d be down). By that Monday I told my therapist that I did speed dating and she was shocked and proud. Yes I did something out of my comfort zone. I can do (some) hard things. I didn’t die! I have weeks left to use so I may go on if I’m bored…who knows but…I currently feel like I’m back where I started. Waking up sad and depressed because I’m alone.

I pray I find my forever plus one. My soulmate. My life partner. My husband. The future father of my children. My person. Where is he? When will we meet? I’m so done and aggravated with being single its not even funny. I always thought that by now, I’d be married with three kids and a dog. Currently, it’s just me and my cat. It’s a lonely life I live. I’m just not sure how much of it I can take.

Photo by Klaus Nielsen on Pexels.com

How do you deal with dating woes? Any advice for someone who fed up with her situation?

XOXO,

LolaDasher

My First (Kind of) Teacher’s Appreciation Week!

Hey y’all!

The week of May 3rd-7th was teacher’s appreciation week! I call this my first real teacher’s week because well COVID happened last year and we couldn’t really celebrate like how we wanted to. I mean admin at my school did what they could but it just wasn’t the same. They gave us lunch one day and the other day they gave us a choice between plants or a healthy snack…I chose plants.

I didn’t know what to really expect from teacher’s appreciation week. I mean to be 1000% honest, I definitely wanted gifts I mean, it’s kind of nice. I love receiving gifts (although that’s not one of my love languages surprisingly) so I was hype to finally receive some. I was looking forward to the store and restaurant discounts and….it was awful. First I saw that McDonalds was offering free coffee and a breakfast item during the week but when I went to two different ones, they said they weren’t offering that deal so that was a bummer. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t eat McDonalds much but free is free. Target let me down too because I’m a circle member and they sent an email either Saturday night or Sunday saying that Sunday was the last day to use their extra 10% off discount (which brings the discount to 20%). I was so sad I couldn’t use it because I was not going to rush there on a Sunday.

As for the week at school, it was also state testing which made the week suck even more. I’m already salty over the fact that they made students test even though…COVID. They weren’t ready. This was not a normal year and our governor decided upon himself that students needed to the test. In my aunt’s state, Maryland, they’re postponing testing for another year…they know that the kids aren’t ready (that state made a wise choice). Needless to say, they weren’t prepared and we teachers did the best we could to prepare them for it. They were doing ELA FSA (Florida state assessment) on May 3rd and 4th and the Math FSA on May 6th and 7th.

My week started off kind of shaky. The day before, on the 2nd, I got my second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The first dose went okay, except 24 hrs after the first dose, my arm was throbbing and then 24hrs later, my body felt like I got hit with a truck. With that experience in mind and the horror stories I heard from others with their second dose, I was terrified and sure enough, the next day, on the first day of testing, I felt miserable. My body was hurting so much, I had a headache, and I was nauseous. We weren’t allowed to call out so I had to show up. The expectation was for teachers to walk around the entire time while they’re testing. We weren’t allowed on our computers unless it was to reach out to someone regarding questions or bathroom breaks. So me dealing with the side effects of the second dose was not fun at all. I told admin my situation and they let me go home after my group was done testing.

I wasn’t able to get the donut and coffee which sucked but I was able to go home and rest as much as I could. When I came to work the next day, I started receiving gifts from some of the students. My heart was so glad that I was getting some stuff. Some were hand drawn cards and drawings, others were letters of appreciation. I got cards, gift cards, candy, and more. It felt nice to be honest because sometimes (a lot of times) teaching feels like a thankless job. People are always telling you what to do. Telling you that you’re basically a baby sitter. The pay is rotten and the rules are just plain old unfair. There’s a reason we have a teacher shortage and a lot of teachers leave the field within the first three years.

I’m sure some people would question why I teach and honestly, I do it to get to what I want to do. I want to become a reading coach and it seems like I need to teach first for some years before I can become a coach. Besides, for loan forgiveness, I have to teach at a Title I school for 7 years and they’ll forgive like 20,000 (I believe). Until then, I will roll with the punches. I have super hard days. I have moments when I want to call out and stay home and cry. I show up and give my all every day.

Teachers aren’t being lazy. We’re working with what we can. A lot of stuff we do comes out of pocket which sucks because….we don’t get paid that much. Especially this year, we have barely been given adequate PPE and full classrooms. Us teachers are riding the struggle bus, especially during a pandemic.

Not pictured was a homemade card
Teaching can be sweet sometimes

How are you showing appreciation to a teacher in your life?

XOXO,

LolaDasher

It’s Okay Not to Be Okay

Hey y’all!

May is officially and and you know what that means! It’s mental health awareness month! I’m hoping that this time around I’m okay. Pretty recently, I’ve been struggling. It happened slowly and before I knew it, I found myself in a depressive episode. I would come home feeling down about my circumstances but this time, I started to lose my appetite. One day it hit me, I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t want to workout. All I wanted to do was stay in bed (once I got home from work) and cried. It got so bad, I had a headache.

I gave myself grace and allowed myself to feel what I felt. The next day, I was determined to not stay in that mindset. I had to keep pushing. For example, I looked at what I was doing to help my circumstances. I don’t like my body weight and I’m totally aware that this is the body that I have right now but it was also up to me to make sure I was working out and eating healthier, which is something that I was working on. Cool! I’m in therapy to learn tools to cope and to help me get a better outlook on life. That’s great! I have a faith that is growing stronger everyday and I know I can turn to God any time of day when I need to. I remember the love I have from my really close friends and family. And I enjoy the cuddles I get from my cat, Gryffindor.

Is my life perfect by any means? Hell no. Hell, I just released a self-published book (you can purchase here if you want it) but I’m still going through the motions with my mental health. It is a journey and you need to have grace with yourself when you are dealing with a mental illness. Something else that helps is to find healthy ways to cope. Once we accept where we are in life, it will be much easier to move forward. Since none of us will thrive on the same way of healing, it’s up to you to decide healthy ways of dealing with your mental health. It can be setting boundaries with others and yourself. It could be therapy. Maybe its medication or a combination of both. Maybe its exercise and getting healthy both mentally and physically. It can be journaling, meditating, or spending time with friends and loved ones. Maybe even going outside. Maybe it’s even having a relationship with God. The point is do what is best for you!

If you are someone who is struggling with anxiety, depression, or any of the other mental illnesses out there, please know that you’re not alone. Open up (although be cautious who you open up to, not everyone will get it) because you never know who has been dealing with that you’re dealing with. There are a lot of resources out there and I will list a few. I just want you to know that you are loved. Don’t believe the lies your mind tells you. The battle with the mind is truly a tough one. Just take things a day at a time. You don’t have to suffer in silence and alone. It’s not easy but again, know that there is help.You’re not a waste of space. Remember to go where you’re celebrated and not tolerated. Getting a handle on your mental will NOT be easy but it is worth it.

Check out some of the resources below:

  • Mental Health resources for Hispanic/Latinx communities
  • Mental Health resources for African American communities
  • Mental Health Apps for your phone or tablet
  • The Unbreakable website

I’m so happy that people are more willing to open up about their own mental health journey. If you’re open to share, what’s your story? Let’s cheer each other on

XOXO,

LolaDasher

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

Impatiently Waiting

Hey y’all!

So something that I noticed about me that’s kind of funny but also not is that I can totally get impatient. Like I’m the type of person who will read the end of a book so that I can know how it will end before I read it from the beginning. Like I have to know how things end. By the way, I was shocked to learn that other people read that way also. Anyway, it’s super crazy because I legit had recently done a meditation vis Calm app and it was on openness. It felt like it was right on time because I’m at a point in my life where I have no idea what will happen next and that bothers me so much! It brought up the question: should we fear the unknown?

Its terrifying! Not knowing what will happen just freaks me out. Like thoughts are always running through my mind. Did I make the right decision? What should I do? Will I fail? Will I be able to get through this? WTF is happening? When God? The questions in my mind are endless. Sometimes I get super depressed or anxious because I don’t know what will be the outcome of my life. There’s so many things that I want to do. Also, I haven’t renewed my lease so I have to move. I don’t plan on staying at my current school because…fuck no. Again, I would really like to be in a relationship because I want a husband and kids (I mean check out my vision board. There’s a reason why there’s mostly relationship stuff on it). I just don’t know what will happen in the future.

I have to know everything. It’s an annoying trait of mine. I love being able to plan things out in life even though life doesn’t always go the way you want it to go. Maybe it’s a small sense of control is what I want to feel. Everything as to be planned out. Everything has to go a certain way and if it doesn’t, I lose it. Actually, I don’t lose it really (in fact I’m getting better each day because of therapy). There are some aspects of life that I wish I had the answer to. I want to get married and have babies. It got so bad, that I went against God and saw a psychic not once but twice. My conscience has always haunted me because of it. Hence why I’m kinda going crazy over manifesting the life that I want. Gotta get married (I’m looking at you Poke’boy) and have babies. I literally wake up sad every weekend because I wake up in my bed alone (besides my cat Gryffindor) and I don’t know. It seems like everyone around me is in a relationship. It’s so hard to meet people nowadays (thanks COVID).

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

Life happens. Changes happen. It’s all a part of life. We can’t control every second of our life. Which is why when unexpected deaths happens shock us…because it’s unexpected. There’s no need to live your life in fear. There’s no need for that. We just need to let it be. Live and let God as the saying goes. We shouldn’t get too attached to outcomes because that’s when troubles happen. The unease we feel is just not worth the stress. It’s just so weird because I guess the universe is just sending me this reminder over and over again because I tend to get stuck on the outcome. I always want things to happen perfectly and I want life to go my way when life doesn’t work like that. Just take things a day at a time. They Bible tells us to not worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will have it’s own troubles.

We can look at the unknown as a good thing. When we overcome our fear of the unknown, we grow as a person. We learn how brave we can be. We learn our true and maybe even hidden potential. On the other side of embracing the unknown, we can feel empowered. The choice at the end of the day is this: either enjoy the ride of life and be open to whatever happens or we can choose to be crippled by fear and stay stagnant. We can be in a piss poor mood or we can embrace the unknown. I know for me, it’s gonna take me day by day and constant reminder that things will happen the way they should.

I leave you with the same question I was asked on the Calm app after my meditation: what will you give yourself the permission to be uncertain of?

Quote I saw on Instagram

XOXO,

LolaDasher

Heavier Things

Hey y’all!

I decided to do something different with this post. For today’s post, I thought I’d share an excerpt from my book “When the Wallflower Blooms: How to Break out & Step Into Who You’re Meant to Be”. April is sexual assault awareness month and so I thought that I should share my story with you all. I never told anyone about what happened to me. I was 12 years young and violated by a stranger. As you read my story, I ask that you listen to women (and men) when they share their story. If this is a trigger for you, I urge you not to read it. To this day, I’m still not comfortable talking about what happened but I also know that I can’t stay silent any longer. Please read with an open heart and open mind. Thank you

From When the Wallflower Blooms: How to Break Out & Step Into Who You’re Meant to Be:

This chapter is one that I’ve avoided for the longest time but I guess there’s no better time than now, right? When I was growing up, my grandma used to love to go shopping: at Jo-Anne’s Fabrics, JC Penny, Big K-Mart, grocery shopping, you name it. She even frequented Dollar Tree very often when she was able to drive still drive herself around. One day, while we were at K-Mart, I went to the toys section while she went shopping for clothes and whatever we needed for the house. I was 12 years old.
While I was in the toy section, I noticed a guy eventually make his way down the aisle. I was a bit nervous so I just stared straight ahead and focused on the toys in front of me. He came closer and closer and my focus was still on the toys. When he brushed his arm on my breast I shook it off. Maybe it was an accident, right? However, when he reached out and fondeled my breast and said “nice boobs”, I froze. Did he really just say that? Did he really just do that? I ran and found my grandma immediately. Now here’s the part where you’re probably like, you told didn’t you? Nope. In fact we passed right by him on our way out of the store and we locked eyes as I walked out with my grandma. Still to this day, I told no one. I knew from that moment on, I hated my big boobs. I felt like they were a distraction. Like they attracted perverts!
I was just a kid! I’m pretty small so I look younger than my age so if I was twelve, I probably looked ten! What hurts is that I was afraid. I was scared to tell my grandparents what happened. Would they call the cops? Will they make a big deal out of it? For the longest time I was afraid to even go to Big K. I mean, I went if my grandma asked me too but my stomach was always in knots in my stomach and I refused to say anything about the situation. Do you know how much it breaks my heart to see tweets or something on social media about a girl being raped or sexually harassed and have been silent about it? Why is it that we feel like we can’t be honest and tell the truth about our experiences? It saddens me when I read things like that. What happens to those who do come forward? Were they asking for it? Are they lying? Why does it take so long for us to be silent? Well because, things haven’t really been in our favor when things come to light and its better to suffer in silence.
I don’t want to live in a world where I have to suffer in silence. A girl I know, whom I’ll call Megan, is very vocal about her sexual assault. She reminds people often of what has happened to her and why she feels so passionate about it. I admire the fuck out of her for it. To me, she’s a hero for being so open about it. She gives no fuck about how people will view her for it and she has such balls. Why can’t I be like that? Well it starts today (hence why you’re reading these words). I wish that we as a society can break this cycle of people feeling afraid to come forward with their stories. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 5 women are raped and 91% of rape and sexual assault victims are women. These are just the stats of women who come forward. I’m pretty sure it would be a higher number if more victims came forward.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my excerpt from my book. If you want to read more, you can find my book here. It will truly bless you. If you or someone in your life could use my book, go ahead and consider purchasing it. Thank you

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

XOXO,

LolaDasher

A Look at How You Look

Hey y’all!

This past week, Khloe Kardashian caused a bit of a stir. Now here is my disclaimer before I go too far in deep. I have a love hate relationship with the Kardashians. Like Kourtney, she’s honestly my favorite (like I love her) but the other ones get on my nerves. Kim, slightly reminds me of me (we Libra’s so we def got some similarities) I just can’t get down with some of their choices. I used to love Khloe but then she started going after guys her friends were with and taking people’s men and again, can’t get down like that. People used to call her Shrek and the ugly sister and they were so critical of her looks that I honestly felt bad for her. They would call her fat when she wasn’t even fat.Was she bigger compared to her sisters? Yes but she was never fat.

Those types of comments would bother anyone so before you think I’m being super hard on her, I’m not. Here is my thing. Be real. Be honest. Not every moment in your life will be perfect or glamorous and it sucks that society puts this pressure on us to be perfect and beautiful when, beauty is subjective. What one person finds beautiful someone else might not find attractive and thats okay. There’s someone out there for anybody (speaking of, where tf is my person?!). My own beauty journey has been…a journey lol. I legit found myself yesterday looking at other girls and comparing my body to theirs and how I’m not skinny like them. I’m (in my opinion) kind of round and out of shape and I don’t look like other girls so I’m super self-conscious about my body and how I look. I’m learning to love my body and accept who I am and treat my body better. I’m trying to love the skin I’m in.

If you’re wondering what the latest Kardashian “scandal” is, allow me to catch you up. Now this is the abridged version of what’s going on. Khloe’s assistant posted an unedited picture of her online and she quickly worked hard to take the picture down. she later posted an “unedited” (we know how they roll) pic of her later and she gave her explanation of why she took the pic down (if you want to see the photo that started this mess, click here). The picture was of her standing near a pool in a bikini. The photo showed a normal body and it got lots of positive comments actually. There was nothing wrong with the photo but because it was unedited, she took it down. Her explanation was that it was an unauthorized photo and she has the right to take it down. She also stated that she “present myself to the world the way I want to be seen and it’s exactly what I will continue to do unapologetically…my body, my image and how I choose to look and what I want to share is my choice. It’s not for anyone to decide or judge what is acceptable or not anymore”.

She’s kind of right. However, she put herself out there with her tv show and social media and whatever you choose to put out or show is subject to judgement. It’s also such a cop out. Like, she don’t want people to judge her but she’s an influencer. She’s a powerful figure and she knows it. She uses her platform to push products and topics that’s she deems important. Nothing wrong with that, but as part of being an influencer, you influence people. Whether she intended to or not, she influences people. It’s so sad to see how people by into what they are pushing as far as their looks go. She didn’t like how she looked so she changed it (obviously through surgery) and instead of owning it, she lies and said she didn’t do anything to alter her looks or she won’t address it at all.

I would’ve loved it if she (and the others out there) be honest and say you know what, I wasn’t comfortable with how I looked so I decided to do something about it and this is it. To say she got that body by only working out, that’s a lie. I mean cosmetic surgery is no cure all and you do have to workout to keep it up. If surgery gave her a leg up sort of speak, own it. A lot of influencers on social media like to get work done and pretend or lie that they didn’t get any work done. That bothers the fuck out of me. Like, why are you lying?

So before you all say I’m not understanding when it comes to Khloe Kardashian, that can be further from the truth. She did more damage in taking that photo down and putting up another pic instead. My problem comes in when people lie about things. If you got work done, own it. If you wasn’t feeling secure or you got a nose job or liposuction or any cosmetic procedure, own it. I know I would. For example, I don’t like my nose. Would I consider getting an ethnic rhinoplasty? Yep. When I have kids, do I want a mommy makeover? You bet! Am I also working on my inner self and doing the internal work? Yes!!!! Lauryn Bosstick from The Skinny Confidential is open and honest about the work that she gets done. She eats well and workout but needed a little help with surgery to become fully comfortable with her body and I am 100% here for it!

Do I love the way I look right now? No. I haven’t been showing much love to my body and started neglecting things and “letting myself go”. Something inside me recently made me take an honest look at myself and what I was doing and it was no wonder things got out of hand as it had. I was (and still am)determined to do better by my body and not abuse it. In fact, I’ve recently started adding in pilates in my workout routine and writing down my feelings and meals and keeping myself accountable with a food journal that I got from Blogilates. I’m still doing Tone It Up workouts but I just needed to add in some more flair. I’m also in therapy to give me valuable steps to building my self-esteem along with prayer to Jehovah.

Why is it that we allow society to determine what is beautiful? If we continue to depend on society for what is beautiful, we would never be happy with ourselves. We have to get to a place where we love who we see in the mirror. I’m currently reading a book called The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton and it is a dystopian story that deals with society’s beauty standards. One quote that stood out to me was: ” I’d do anything to be beautiful”. Do we not see that in society and on social media? People willing to die and risk their life just to be considered beautiful? Girls in elementary school concerned with what they look like? What I do love now is how there’s this body positivity push and I’m here for it. I love how more and more women (and men…men need representation too for all bodies) are pushing back on society’s standards and are saying aa big FUCK YOU.

One video that helps me with my self mage can be found here. Or you can check out these helpful articles here and here.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com
About a minute in is where they talk about the picture and her reaction to it

What are some things that have helped you with your self-esteem? How do you feel about society’s beauty standards?

XOXO,

LolaDasher