Too Blessed To Be Stressed

As lay here poolside viewing North Miami’s beach, I can’t help but to feel blessed. I know its been a LONG while since my last post, but God has opened so many new doors for me and pray you all would understand.

Since my last post, I was fired from Long Days, Late Nights blog site. Shocker, I know. Like who in their right mind would fire me, I’m a freaking rock star. LOL I don’t even believe that. But No hard feelings to my serious Editor, I learned so much from him in the short amount of time I worked with him. Only wish hi the best. God is awesome, I tell ya! As one door closed, He opened up a FEW others. I started my radio career. This s huge for me, many don’t know this but since I was a small child, I’ve LOVED radio and have ALWAYS wanted to work in radio. Well God has allowed me to finally open up, move out of my own way and pursue a life long dream. As of right now, I’m on air three times a week. Sunday 2-5 Tuesday and Wednesday 5-8 on New Jersey Web Radio. I am grateful.

See because i am not in school, all the internship programs attached to “Big  Time” stations will not allow me to intern. So instead of giving up, I found a platform in which i could get all the experience I can get right now. I am blessed. At first I was terrified. I spent HOURS in the station learning how to run the board. I created my show from scratch by literally studying audio, from Wendy Williams radio show, Angie Martinez, Miss Jones, Deja Vu, Egypt, and The Breakfast Club just to name a few. I came up with different segments, I book different people to interview with me. The only think I have not bee able to master is the DJ part. I’m finding it had to find DJ’s that will come in for free to do a 30-45 min set.  But I don’t fret, the show MUST go on. The show has been teaching me A LOT, and I thank God for the opportunity.

I haven’t been writing/blogging as much. But different opportunities have been forcing me to get to work. Recently, I was afforded a media pass to do the RED CARPET of BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Now for me, this is HUGE. I was out there conducting interviews along the side of media power houses such as MTV, BET, Hello Beautiful, Huffington Post, NEWARK MAG, Sway In The Morning, TV ONE, the list goes on and on. And here I am this grown ass, tall ass women on my very FIRST red carpet event!!! To say excited and nervous in an UNDERSTATEMENT!!! I was nervous as F**K. I don’t talk things like this lightly. I know there are people who studied this craft and I would never disrespect them or myself in any way. I had a blast that night. Even got to watch a “Bucket list” concert. I got to sit in the actual tapping for BRG!!!! I witnessed Brandy, Monica, Jazmine, Gladys, and Lauren perform for FREE!!!  Man I didn’t even get into the after party yet! My SNAP was LIT! Queen Moths Erykah Badu DJ’ed free food and drinks, and amazing room of people. Again I am blessed.

Now fast forward to my current situation. I am in Miami on vacation visiting two of my Fordham teammates Lisa and Jade. It’s been a while since I’ve seen these two amazing women. For me these women are family (RAMily as I like to call my FU sisters/friends). Originally I came down to only vacation, but I had the bright Idea to interview these two. See for some of you that may not know, Jade and Lisa are pretty amazing women. Jade is just returning from India where she worked with the Jr. NBA for the past six months. And Lisa, who graciously allowed me to stay in her BEAUTIFUL home while here in MIA, is like a freaking Wonder Woman. Beside the fact that her children’s clothing line LIVLY is taking the fashion world by storm and can now be found in Barneys New York. She is a loving wife, mother of four adorable children (Liv, Lily, Marley, and Miles), successful business woman, and bad ass! Later on tonight I will be interviewing these two, to share their stories with the world.

I thank God for his grace and mercy every day of my life. Although I am not exactly where I want to be, I am moving closer to all of my dreams. Stay tuned for the interview on my social media sites, but major publications as well! I’m about to hop in the pool to cool off a bit. I will talk to you guys soon.

Continue to keep being the change you wish to see in the world! TTYL 🙌🏾✌🏾😜

 

Advertisements

Come Through NJ’s Own Ms. Lauryn Hill🙌🏾👸🏾👑🔥

I am STILL on a high! But before I go all the way in on this blog, let me give you guys a precursor. Please don’t get it twisted! Although I am a HUGE fan of Ms. Lauryn Hill, if I felt like her show was bad I would say so. I am not bias when it comes to live performances. So with that being said, MS. HILL JUST GAVE ME LIFE LAST NIGHT!.

Yes this was a #BucketListConcert for me. I became a TRUE  Lauryn Hill fan pretty late in life. I think it was Spring of 2000, I was playing AAU with the NJ Monarchs. We were all piled in this van going someplace, and in the background, Ms. Hill was playing. Now let me be clear, I knew who L-Boogie was in these Fugee streets. I loved her in Sister Act 2, her singles played all the time. But prior to this particular road trip, I never took the time to fully and truly listened to The Miseducation. Please don’t shoot me, I was young!!! My life consist of Gospel, Jazz,  Country, Church, School and Basketball. I didn’t have older siblings that let me sneak and listen to their music. Therefore, my education on anything outside of theses things were a tad bit delayed.

I will never forget the moment my life changed. As we are riding along crammed in this van, Every Ghetto, Every City starts to play. Now me being a Newark Girl (Brick City Born and Raised). Ms. Hill had my ear,  “Story starts in Hoodaville, Grew Up NEXT To IVY Hill”.  Wait, what Hoodaville, Ivy Hill, THAT’S MY NEIGHBORHOOD, I thought to myself. As I attentively set up, took notice, and witness Ms. Lauryn Hill run down every spot of my life. S. Orange Ave, Boylen Pool, Main St, Springfield Ave, Frelinghuysen, Hawthorne and Chancellor’s beef, Hillside, P-S-P… I felt like my heart was pumping out of my chest! Like I knew Lauryn and the Fugees were from NJ, but it wasn’t until this day that I knew they were FROM NJ. Not just NJ but MY NJ. This was the first time I’d ever heard someone break down so much about my childhood and area I grew up in, I was hooked. I’m sure my Monarch teammates were so done with me, I asked Coach Fu to run the track back like three times! Since that day, I could never get enough of Ms. Hill!

All that being said, coming into last night’s concert I was already on a natural high! I purchased a solo ticket, and took my happy self to the concert. I have to be honest, I was a little nervous about the show. Listening to all the “stories” one hears about L-Boogie, I expected her to be 3 hrs late, and we wouldn’t leave until like after 2am. Although all the rumors stated Ms. Hill usually put on a bad show, I wasn’t worried. I had faith! Shoot, clearly Ms. Hill loves NJ like I do, so I KNEW she was going to put on a GREAT show!

Based on me knowing Ms. Hill was going to be a little late, I didn’t leave my house until 8pm.Got to venue by like 8:20, parked, stood on line for about 10 mins and walked damn near straight to front of the stage! Ms. Hill hit the stage at around 9:40 which is NOT bad for an 8pm show. I think the longest I ever waited was at the Jay and Em concert at Yankee Stadium. This is pretty common in the hip-hop world of concerts so I was cool.  So here I am, in all my glory waiting for Ms. Lauryn Hill to hit the stage. While waiting for Ms. Hill, made friends with a group from Brooklyn who recently moved to NJ. As the DJ started to spin, I’m Snap Chatting my life away, in anticipation of Ms. Hill!

And then she walks out, and my life is again changed forever! Man people say the b.s about Lauryn Hill, but she put on an AMAZING show last night!!!! I tried to catch every bit of it on camera. Had to put my phone down a few times to fully be in the moment of the vocal and lyrical BEAST OF A WOMAN!!! I imagine Ms. Hill to be a perfectionist, because she wanted nothing but greatness from her band, as she directed her life throughout the concert. I am still in awe about what I witnessed last night.

Over all Ms. Hill is simply put A BEAST! I stood in amazement as she flexed her vocal talent, and laced the crowd with lyrical insightful rhythms. I tried to share as much as I could to the people to prove that Ms. Hill is always and forever a GEM in this wold of music. I was doing a pretty good job, my twitter, IG, FB, and Periscope followers were loving Ms. Hill. I feel bad because for whatever reason, my phone started acting up during the BEST performance of the night. Sorry to my Periscope friends. My phone was acting up on the BEST SONG OF THE NIGHT!Ms. Hill slayed, killed, gave life, killed again and gave more life through her Nina Simone “Feeling Good” rendition!!!! WHY WASN’T Ms. HILL BOOKED FOR THE NINA MOVIE AGAIN 😒😶😐🤔 󾌦?! Ms Lauryn Hill not only CAME THROUGH NJ, but she gave her soul!!!!

I am still on a natural high! Ms. Lauryn Hill gave me life last night! Vocally STILL A BEAST in the game. Her lyrical rhythms left me speechless. I still feel like a little kid lol all night I dreamt about the show! I’m blessed!! Ms Lauryn Hill not only CAME THROUGH NJ, but she gave her soul!!!! Again s/o to my 🔌 Amanda Chanel Hill and Jazmine Wright, I was simply happy to be in the building! Even if y’all couldn’t have, I was excited! But y’all did and made my life that much more amazing! The ONLY thing that would have made my life even better is if Ms. Hill had performed Every Ghetto, Every City. But I have no complaints. Love and Peace to the Queen Ms. Lauryn Hill THANK YOU! 👸🏾👑💁🏾🙌🏾🔥✌🏾😘

 

Dear Future Husband

Saw this image on someone’s FaceBook page earlier today. I instantly liked the pic, but it got me to thinking. Recently I am in a rebuild/transitional stage in my life. I’ve become more aware and actively holding myself accountable for my very uncomfortable situation, I have been in the last few years. I acknowledge my bullshit. I’ve written plans, and working towards solutions to reach all my goals. I try to forgive myself often and as quickly as possible, so I don’t harp on my mishaps. This is hard for me, I’m a perfectionist, and I over analyze EVERYTHING! Again, I know my BS and working on growing. I learn from myself, my actions, and make myself accountable.Dear future husband, I have absolutely no problem with working on me, I will acknowledged and apologize for my foolishness quickly. I am however still progressively learning how to stop doing some of the negative, and break the cycle of my generational crap. Working every day towards being the best Jada I can be.

This Jada I am working to become is a freaking rockstar! She has her shit together, all across the board. Financially, great credit, kind heartened, goal oriented, dream catcher, career thriving, living life in light as much as possible, loving, kind, in a heathy relationship with herself and her MAN. This Jada has a man that loves ALL of her, and she actually trust him to build and grow a bomb ass DYNASTY/FAMILY TOGETHER.

So back to the pic posted. When I read it, I liked it. I know too many women/men in the world who don’t want to work for the dream. They simply want the fantasy already assembled. No shade to these people, they know the game, and somehow figure out how to get others to take care of them.

Calling myself on my own personal bullshit, majority of the men I’ve dated have been bums. No ambition, no drive, no future, stuck in a ghetto mental telepathy as I once was.  I’ve allowed men to take from me without providing ANYTHING to my life other than stress. It wasn’t their fault at all, I ALLOWED this to happen. Because my self esteem, worth, and thoughts of myself were so negative and messy, these are the type of men I attracted in my life.

When I did date the more established and ambition men (lawyer, teacher, detective, sheriff, professional athlete), I ALLOWED them to treat me like shit because I wasn’t happy with me. Let me keep it all the way real, some of them didn’t even treat me like crap, I didn’t believe that I was worthy enough to be seen with them. I felt like because I didn’t have a big ass, didn’t own my own loft/condo, bad credit, no savings, pretty much because I wasn’t a “bad bitch” as described by social media and reality tv, I wasn’t desirable.

I am no longer this woman! Because of my evolution into Rock Star Jae, I now understand, appreciate, and know my worth and what I bring to the table (I’ve got IT). Not to toot my own horn, but even with my sometimes EXTREMELY annoying behaviors, and geeky nature, I’m pretty BOMB, and a lot of men have been TRYING to be on team Jae. Because they see this light, of confidence, intelligence, determination, and know my views on building a dynasty with my future mate, they want me to help them GET IT because I’ve GOT IT. What’s even crazier,  is this is the just the beginning. When I figure out how to effectively budget, save, and build wealth, I’m going to really be the 💩.

I digress back to picture posted. There is a very thin line between working with someone to help you GET IT, and one who will work to GET YOU because you GOT IT. Let me break it down a little more. Within this evolution, I’ve come across men who only want to be with me because they want me to SAVE them, or they think because of my current situation, I need to be SAVED. I find this trait in usually weak minded, insecure men. Now I am not saying I am better than anyone. I am simply saying I will not and can not “SAVE” any man. A man has to want the best for himself.

Example, I recently took this man up on his offer to take me out. Mind you, this is date number one. On this said date, he was 15 mins late for our date because I asked to meet him at the restaurant instead of meeting him at his house. I would normally leave after the first 5 mins but I’m working on my personal hang ups, so I stuck around. Less than 10 mins into the date, he offered to have my transmission fixed in exchange for me being his “woman” not WIFE. Not saying I would have accepted his proposal had he said wife, but after sitting and talking with this man for an hour, he let me know he had no plans for marriage.

After turning down his offer, we started the usual first day questions of single 30+ yr olds. Some how he felt comfortable enough to as me if I would help him with his company 😳. TF?! Astonished that he really had the nerve to ask me that, on a first date, I played it cool (new leaf, working on being less “bitchy” as some call it). I asked him about his business, his business plan/proposal, I asked did he have a grant/loan already, how was he funding his business. He told me, his aunt who helps him here and there with money, connected him with her older female friend who is writing his proposal and funding his company with out asking for any percentage 😳. Trying to save time and spare his feelings, I let him know I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that with a man I am not married to, let alone making that much of a commitment with a man I’ve only known for 30 mins. This man had the nerve to be offened, but not before he asked me to help him find a truck for his company. At this point all types of red flags are going off in my head. Not only is this man lazy AF, HE isn’t invested in his company. Why TF would I be?!?! The final straw was him asking if believed in him. I POLITELY told him no. Based on the look on his face, I may as well have laughed in his face. I told him that the fact of the matter was, I didn’t know him and based on our last hour together, I couldn’t believe in him because HE DID NOT BELIEVE IN HIM. He would rather find women to do all the work for him and rep the benefit. He paid for dinner, I left a good tip like I usually do. This man counted it and put $5 of the tip I left for the waiter into his pocket. He walked me to my car, I haven’t spoken to his since.

Dear future husband, with all this being said, I have NO problem working with a man who wants and is actively doing is own work to become the best man he can be. I do however have a problem with men who want others to do ALL the work for them. These are usually very unhealthy people which lead to unhealthy relationships. I simply want no part.  I personally  NEED a God fearing, spiritual man who will be the head of our dynasty. A man who will lead, and provide. I need a man who is strong enough in who he is to know his faults and work towards greatness. A man who confidently knows I am working as well. I need a stable partner who is trustworthy. A foundation of trust in each other’s moves, believing that the moves we are making both together and separately, will harvest the foundation of a great future.

 

Gotta Miss My Damn Self With The B💩

I’ll admit it, I’ve been in a funk! I’m so ready for the next step, I’m going to need God to come on through and give me light. Although it may sound like I’m complaining, honestly I’ve been in a happier place. Been doing my work to keep negativity out of my space and mind, but for the past few weeks I’ve been drained! It clearly doesn’t help that I decided a few months ago  (6 to be exact) to do this celibacy thing again 😰. I cut off my entire roster 😖, and it feels like I’m ovulating every freaking day of my life 😫…. I seriously don’t remember it being this hard last time I did this. I underestimated the power of touch, so needless to say, I’ve been on edge.

Aside from some pretty pathetic text I’ve sent to a few exs the past few weeks, I’ve been figuring out how to cope. Hold up, before I go any further, I need a quick praise break. I seriously need to thank God for the closed doors, and miscommunication between myself and my exs, bc if it were up to me, I would have slipped and fell on a penis like two months ago! How dear you judge me…. I KNOW for a FACT single women go through this, some of us are way too cool to EVER acknowledge the need for D we experience. But I digress, I’ve been coping sorta.

If I’m being completely honest with myself, my self esteem has been in the basement. I feel so unattractive right now. But let me be the first to call my own BULLSHIT, it’s all me. I have a slew of men who frequent my DM and text. I’ve been on dates. Even had a man offer to pay for the new transmission I need in my truck…. but I’m not feeling any of them. Again being honest, I’m not feeling myself right now.  Although I’ve made  conscious decisions to be more productive and happier in my life, I am NO where near where I want to be. I am unhappy with me right now, so even if I have met HIM in the past few weeks, I would not have known.

Another fact, I need a change. Winter and I don’t really see eye to eye any more. I need sun!!! With that being said, I understand why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling. I need sun in my life, I’m so ready to blossom and continue growing in life and dream career. I’m so tired of not tapping my potential. I am tired of being surrounded by the same people I am forced to work with and damn near sit on top of. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the paycheck and health benefits. I love that Obama-care has allowed everyone to qualify for medicaid, and that I am a part of the process, but I know there is so much more to life than pushing paper work, hearing co workers bitterly throw shade at others and talk about L&HH all day.

I’ve become some what of a negativity blocker (thank God for headphones, and a tamed tongue). I’ve been working on inner peace, and I even try to give my co workers a daily positive thought of the day (even when I’m not feeling the love). Again quick praise break, thank God that what I do isn’t for mans approval. I’m blessed that I have matured into that much needed revolution! Some of my co workers love the inspiration, and have started contributing quotes. Others hate like all haters do, and constantly kick my back in. This is to be expected. I’ve been at this company, with these same people for 7 yrs of my life, so I know what time it is. I understand these people, and have made a choice to try my best not to live in the toxic land of negativity they choose to constantly take part in.

Key words, I try my best,  but I am only human (a human who isn’t having sex right now may I remind you). So the past few weeks my best has not been enough to maintain my peace of mind. No excuses though, I have to shake this funk and get my life! For my own personal health and well being I have to keep moving! This insert was a step towards movement. Now will I ever post this, I am unsure. But what I do know is that I have to keep writing and moving forward. Writing is my only release right now, until God opens some other doors for a better tomorrow!

Not For the Weak Stomached or Minded 💪🏾

I’m way too hard on myself. I am my toughest critic! I’m sure many people can say this about themselves. But I’m like really REALLY hard on myself. I expect greatness at all times! I know my strengths and how far I can push myself to achieve greatness. I’m an athlete so this is second nature to me. I’m on a new path in life, and I’m actively making some conscious decisions to change to live a healthier lifestyle. And one of my choices happened this morning.

I called out of work today. For some, this isn’t anything special. People call out of work all they time. I legitimately don’t feel well. It’s not the flu nor a head cold. I’m not dying and I can walk, so why did I call out today? My f’ing PERIOD! Damn my bad, that was kinda rude to just hit y’all with it like that! So let me give you a headsup, this will be a blog about my body, my menstrual period, and other feminine issues. If you ain’t about that life, I understand if you tap out now!

Now what was I saying again?! Oh yeah, I called out from work today because of my period. Now before the judgemental side eyes start, let me go back and explain somethings. I didn’t get my period until the summer going into my freshman year of high school, I was 13. For the most part, my periods have never really bothered me physically. I’ve ALWAYS bled REALLY heavy, but I figured out how to layer up and change out every 30-40 minutes. I understand now that this may not be common, but I’ve been dealing with my cycle for the past 19 yrs so I’ve figured out some life hacks. But for the most part I don’t have any crazy stories about having to miss school because of cramps or any other menstrual symptoms.

Growing up, I was extremely active in sports. As a teen my doctor once told me this was the reason I didn’t have bad symptoms. I didn’t fully understand it, but would thank God that I didn’t have bad cramps! In school I knew some girls that were out of school every month because of their cycles. In my younger, super naive and judgemental mind I would call these girls weak! I didn’t understand their pain. For the most part I just bleed way too heavy which only granted me some me pretty embarrassing moments. But for the most part, outside of the bleeding and occasional mood swings, I was good. Because my period never hit me that hard, there have been times in my past, I’ve been extremely desensitized to what women actually go through…. Until now!

I will never forgot the change. It was a late Spring night. A group of us were packed in my ball sister Frenchie’s car headed to play open gym. Sidebar: We used to have some EPIC battles at Rahway Open Gym, I digress. Somehow we start comparing “Period” stories. My naive ass was in awe of the stories my basketball sisters were telling! I had never experienced any of this growing up. I would often call girls who complained about their periods WEAK! Shame on me. I remember Frenchie saying “Just wait until 25”. I was 24 at the time, and didn’t believe the hype. But oh hunnie, when 25 hit, my body definitely decided against my will to shift!

It seemed as if I started bleeding even heavier and all of a sudden I started having crazy painful Cycle Symptoms! Extrem fatigue, back pains, bad cramps, dizzy spells, the works! I tired for the first two months, to woman up and take it like it was. But bye! I couldn’t take it anymore, plus I had full Heath insurance so I went to my OBGYN. Of course her reason was because I wasn’t as physically active any longer, my body was changing. She said some other things but ultimately she convinced me to go on birth control. We decided the Ring would be the best way for me to go. At first the ring was cool, my flow was light for the first time in my life! I had gone from five heavy days to only three! I’m on a high again, I had mastered the period game once again, back on my grind.

Fast forward a few yrs to this morning. No longer on birth control, laying in my bed in bloody pain, calling out of work. How the hell did I get here again? I thought I’d figured this thing out. How am I this weak, to call out of work because of a period? As I’m disappointedly asking myself all these questions, I check myself! ‘Jada Girl Bye, you are human. It’s ok’ I tell myself. This is life, this is the moment I am currently faced with. I have two choices at this point. I could try and be Super Woman again today, push my body passed this pain, pop MORE pain killers. Go to work and unproductively get all my cases done or I could take a day.

As you already know, I choose the latter. So as I’m soaking in my jacuzzi tub, with a hot cup of tea after placing my soiled sheets and pjs in the washing machine, I breathe. This is not the end of my word, I am not a WEAK woman who can’t handle a “simple period”. I am a conscious woman who now understands that I must respect my body in order to maintain a healthy mind, spirit and lifestyle! As long as I’ve grown and learned from this experience, I have overcome a huge mental battle. Im good, I will live to fight another day!

How I Found Life Through My Sister’s Journey and Passing From Cancer

It’s been an emotional two weeks for me. Last week was one of the most draining and emotional weeks I’ve had at my job in a very long time. I am a social worker, and now that I am a processor, I love my job. I am grateful for it. I go to work, put my music on, and process paperwork. For the most part I love it because it is peaceful, and with the new changes in Medicaid, and President Obama’s Obamacare, in my own little way I am able to help thousands of people be able to obtain medical coverage. I’m also learning to be positive and thankful for what God has blessed me with. With all this being said, last week, my spiritual guard was down and I allowed some negativity to get me off track. My job can be very stressful and some of the people can be very negative. I am learning that I have to work extra hard to keep negative vibes and people away from my spirit and mind. Last week I didn’t do so well. I am human, I had a bad week, I almost allowed situations and certain persons make me feel like I am the worst person in the world. I almost allowed the devil to get in my head and have me on the road of negative thoughts about myself, but then God sent a reminder through my now angel in heaven Alaia Robinson.

Last Friday, I came home and instantly laid down for a nap. Like I stated earlier I was seriously drained, it was a VERY long week. I figured if I just closed my eyes, and slept it off with a quick nap, I could wake up refreshed and get some other work done. Although I managed to get a nap in, I was awaken by a thunderstorm. Like most people now a days, the first thing I did was roll over and checked my phone. ‘One missed call from Aliyah, ok I will call her back in a few. Text message from Frenchie “Hey Sis, Alaia isn’t doing well”. Damn it, ok so now I understand Aliyah’s call’. For some reason I subconsciously didn’t respond to Frenchie’s text. I think for me, had I responded via text in writing, that would have made her comment too real to me.

I opted to called Aliyah back. As we spoke about our basketball sister Alaia we shed some tears. I switched up the convo and tried to bring light to a sad situation, trying to convince myself more than Aliyah that God is in control and we have to trust His plans. By the end of the convo it was agreed that we would be going to go visit Alaia the following morning. Before hanging up, Aliyah and I told each other we loved each other, something we don’t say often but its understood. The following morning, about 6 of us hopped into a couple of cars and rolled to Alaia’s hospital room in Manhattan. We do this often, usually about 5 or more deep. We simply go spend time with our sister. The bond I have with my basketball sisters is amazing and such a blessing. It’s amazing that we are all connected through basketball, a simple round object, a game that has tied us together since childhood, and which has bounded us all as family now as adults. We grew up playing with and against each other. We all went away and came back and still play with each other throughout the years. My Jersey basketball sisters are an amazing group of women. We honestly are a family and I love each and every one of them, through good, bad, and ugly.

For me, this particular Saturday was a little different from past trips I’ve made. This was my first time meeting some of Alaia’s extended family members. We all spent about 5 hours in the room as we usually do, with Alaia coming in and out of convo from sleep. We laughed, we spoke politics, sports, life, lessons, religion, goals, and our love for Alaia. Doctors and nurses came in and out all day, and it amazed me that even in Alaia’s physical state, which wasn’t good, she still managed to ask each doctor, and nurse how they were doing. On the few occasions when we as a group had to leave the room so the doctor’s could do their thing, upon our return, Alaia would ask for each of us. It was like she wanted to simply put her eyes on us, or wanted to check and see if we were ok and still there. We shared so much love in that room, and by the end of the visit I felt I had gained more family.

Leaving that hospital, again I was reminded of strength. I made a mental note, ‘Ok Jae, if Alaia can find a way to keep fighting and stay so positive and upbeat through her pain and cancer, surely you can’. I was ready to take on the week. The following Monday October 12, 2015 was the year anniversary of my friend Aki Jones’ passing. It was an emotional day but with the conscious reminder of Alaia’s light, and my little cousin Chevie and home girl JD, they helped me get through the day. A brief catch up for those of you who may not follow me on social media, and don’t understand the dynamic person Aki Jones was. He was this larger than life man literally and figuratively. Aki and I went to Fordham University together. He was a beast on the football field and an comically cool asshole off. He was an amazing person and great friend. Aki Jones is another significant young person in my life, who daily helps remind that life and short and I should never take it for granted. Fast forward to Wednesday October 14, 2015 a little after 10pm, as I’m leaving a get together at my Fordham team-mate Lara’s home, I get the call that Alaia passed.

I’m not totally sure that it has really hit me that I will not be able to see this amazing woman ever again, but I thank God that she is with Him. I thank God that my sister is no longer in pain. She fought an amazing fight against cancer. Well over 3 years of pushing through. The light she gave me will help illuminate my darkest days. Although I am nowhere near where I want to be, Alaia Robinson has shown me what it truly means to be a fighter. She has shown me how to appreciate life. Although my current career as a Family Service Worker is not my ideal career, I will thank God for it and continue to do my work to help change the world.

There were a few times during Alaia’s battle with cancer, that her medical coverage was cut. Times when she couldn’t come into the office to do paper work to reinstate her medical because she was literally in the hospital fighting for her life. I never personally handled Alaia’s case because this would be a conflict of interest in which I could lose my job. However, I thank  God who trust and bless me with the job and knowledge of who and what needed to be done to help Alaia. I take my job seriously. Everyday I have the opportunity to help a person who may not have had medical coverage for years because of whatever reasons. Through an my angle Alaia Robinson, I have learned to push through, to be in the present instead of stressing my past mistakes. I have learned to appreciate the now, and the time we have on this earth. I am not the best person in the world when it comes to reaching out to friends and family, but I understand quality time. Quality Time is definitely my strongest Love Language. Alaia Robinson, Aki Jones, and Charlie Slade are a few phenomenal people who came and went too soon. They all help motivate me to be my best and continue to push through even when I feel like I’m not where I’m supposed to be.

I will never understand why it had to be them. And although it hurts like hell our loved ones may no longer be physically walking with us on this earth, we must not forget to thank God for the time we have together and the lessons we can all learn from each other and every situation.

Why I Turned Down 2.5 Coaching Jobs in the City of Newark NJ In the Past Two Years

From the title alone, I’m sure I’m being judged. Either your reading this trying to figure out why I’m such an idiot to turn down money. Some of you may be the same persons who have been running your mouths and kicking my back in, making accusations as to why I didn’t take these jobs. And others may have a genuine interest as to how could I turn down 2.5 jobs. So for the first time ever on a public platform I will share my reasons.

Last year, my high school basketball coach the legendary Vanessa Watson stepped down as head girls coach of Malcolm X Shabazz high school. Being a former Shabazz All-State and County athlete (Basketball and Volleyball) I’ve been blessed to be able to be a part of the Shabazz family. So when Coach dropped the news, I already knew. Coach had been saying for years she was ready to step down, but each year she thought she was going to, God kept her in place. Coach had more lives she had to read, she had a few more extraordinary female athletes she had to mode, and a few more milestone wins and championships she had to rack up before stepping down. However, time finally came last year. Coach announced that she was handed over her title of Shabazz head girls basketball coach to her former player (my Lil Bulldog Sis) and University of Pittsburg’s standout Point Guard Jania Sims. I was happy for Jay! Coach and I’s originally conversation, was she wanted me to be Jania’s assistant coach, I was cool with this. Jay had been coaching under Coach Watson for the past few years, so she already knew the ends and out of the system Coach put in place. Besides, I understood that Jay would be filling huge shoes, and she needed all the love, support, and backup she could get in an assistant coach. I had no problem being Jay’s assistant coach, however approaching the basketball season I learned through a friend of mine (not Coach nor Jay) that they decided to hire another one of my Lil Bulldog Sisters Iasia Hemingway. (Side bar: For those who don’t know, Iasia Hemingway is another Shabazz standout who also cracked heads in the Big East at Syracuse University. Real talk, the Big East should definitely cut Coach Watson a reimbursement check for every ALL-AMERICAN beast she produced from Shabazz who went on to dominate in the Big East…. only if this were legal).

I digress back to story, so again I heard this news from a friend of mine, not Coach Watson or Jay, and to be completely honest, I was hurt. Let me be clear, I was hurt because the lack of communication and the way I found out. I have, never was, nor will I ever be jealous of my little sisters. Let me say that again, when it comes to my little sisters that followed behind me at Shabazz, I HAVE AND WILL NEVER BE JEALOUS OF THEM. I am a proud Big Sister and am filled with nothing but joy for all my little sister’s success. I can, however admit that I was hurt in the break down of communication. Prior to being offered the freshmen job at Shabazz, for years I’d given away my services and knowledge away for free. I volunteered with different AAU teams throughout NJ/NY, I helped with different camps and clinics and even volunteered with Coach Watson here and there. During the Spring and Summer I would gather a group of athletes (collegiate, professional, and retired) in West Side and Weequahic park for conditioning three times a week. I was an assistant coach at Rutgers Newark for three years, before taking a head coaching job at Newark Vocational high school for a year. So when offered the freshman job at Shabazz, I had no interest. I had over 5 years into coaching and I had no interest in going backwards in my coaching career. Wait as I think about it, I was never “officially” offered any coaching job with Shabazz. Hence my .5 jobs Some called it being too prideful, I called it simply knowing my worth. Whatever you call it, at the time I simply had no interest in going backwards in my coaching career. Besides that, September 1, 2014 I was involved in a really bad car accident which left me without a vehicle for over 8 months, and sometimes unable to leave my bed, in excruciating pain, I was also in the process of trying to get custody of my niece. With all that on my plate, I know I would not have been able to give Jay the undivided support she need in her first year.

Hindsight is 20/20, I had a lot going on, God understood this, and still everything is working out according to His plan. This where the story gets juicy. I had a few mentors, friends, and older sister’s reach out to me asking me why I wasn’t coaching with Jay and Iasia. I gave them the same answer I am giving now. Somehow, I’m guessing some BS got back to Jay because for months I felt a strain on your relationship. I have a strong idea as to who this person was who possibly ran back giving false information, but I never addressed the BS and simply prayed to God. I can’t change other people’s pettiness, and I had so much other crap going on in my life at the time, I didn’t have the energy to do so. I can simply say I am glad my God works everything out, and my sisterhood between Jay and Iasisa is soild. I didn’t have a car last year so I couldn’t support my little sisters but better believe I’m going to be in the stands and at as many practices as possible supporting My Bulldog Family this year!!!!

This year, I was offered a head coaching job at Weequahic high school, and an assisting coaching job at University high school, both in Newark. Yes I turned both them down not saying this to be arrogant, nor to boast. I feel that my reasoning is God’s purpose for my life. While in attendance at Coach Watson’s retirement party this past weekend, I felt some shade from a few people. I really wish they understood but at this point, I honestly feel like the vision I have is God’s purpose on my life.

So many people don’t understand the plight of the 98% of College Athletes who don’t go pro. Although I was blessed to be a part of the 2% who did experience playing professionally overseas (Ireland, Spain and Greece), when I was forced to retire because of a broke finger and not having some place to peacefully lay my head a night, I was emotionally confronted with all the same issues.

This is why I choose to turn down 2.5 coaching jobs. I’ve been blessed to be a coach on every platform except professionally. I have no doubt in my mind that if I choose to at some point return to coaching, I would still be a pretty good coach. However, I feel like every trail and tribulation I’ve encountered trying to transition into life after retiring from the game, wasn’t for me to simply figure it out. But instead to reach back and help other female athletes have a smoother transition. The name of my company will be ANCHorD21.

As a kid I used to have a dream of being a famous author. I used to wright novels as a child, I never released any because it was just a hobby/dream. Some where down the line, I picked up a ball, and quickly realized I was a pretty good athlete. It is very easy for me to drift away from a dream/passion I had prior to becoming an athlete. I knew that if I worked hard, I could get a full ride to a college, and them become more rich and famous playing in the WNBA and for the Olympics. It was easier for me to put all my eggs into one basket and become an athlete, I understood the time, and effort I had to put in to make this dream come true. As far as writing, I had no idea how to make that dream come true.

For many of us, it’s easy to get completely wrapped up in trying to be the best in our field, over look and not prepare for the next chapter in life, after our career ends. It is my plan to team up with the Mayor of Newark, Fordham University’s Women’s Basketball program, and other organizations to help give female athletes options, opportunities, and internships with a career and company they may find hard to normally get into because of their CRAZY training time, lack of knowledge or connections in the career they want after sports. Under the same umbrella of ANCHorD21, I want to be able to offer support groups, and possible therapy for athletes. This will be a safe place for athletes to vent and gain emotional support and advise to over coming the “Post Jock Blues”.

For many athletes, we put all our time and energy into perfecting our craft to be the best. Many of us from the inner cities have been taught how to struggle through life, instead of maneuvering. For many of us, we are born into very dysfunctional situations so its easy for us to throw ourselves into a sport for the hopes and dreams of one day going pro and be coming rich and famous, and being able to buy our family a house. For some of us we simply chase the dream and don’t think about life after the game. For many former college athletes, the void of sports, and trying to adjust to life after sports can take a serious psychological toll. For some athletes, the emotional toll is realizing that you put all your eggs in one basket, and never thought to maintain a successful internship while in school. The reality that after the game stops and you realize that you have basically no work experience other than working a few camps here and there, can cause stress. For some athletes returning home to the cold side eyes from friends and family may be too much to handle.

For all these reason, I feel that ANCHorD21 is essential. These are my plans, I am not afraid to share them publicly to the world. In some ways, my blog is my public vision board. I am dreaming, planning and writing again. Some how my blog will land me a career at Essence, ESPNW, Monarch, The Player’s Tribune, show how this blog will open a lane for me for not only publish my work but to gain wealth. I will be the cycle breaker in my family. I understand that what is for me is for me, and God gave me a vision. It is my responsibility to make His vision come to life. I am not worried about someone stealing my ideas, if someone has some advise or wish to help me make this dream come to pass, I welcome it! But I am only depending on my God given gifts and my God. I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to become wealthy from ANCHorD21, however I know and understand the amount of time I am going to have to put in to make this vision come to pass, and I know God will make a way. He already has.