Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Reflections

The Big Girl Chronicles:  Thanksgiving Reflections

As I was pushing my shopping cart through the grocery store hurrying to gather all my necessary ingredients to prepare my ultimate Thanksgiving feast of all times, I accidentally bumped into a fellow shopper riding the wheelchair assisted cart.  A closer look in the midst of  my apologies revealed that the stranger I thought I had accidentally collided with was in fact an old college friend whom I had lost contact with.  I playfully quipped that he was being a lazy shopper riding the handicapped equipment rather than battling the other frantic shoppers on foot, as he was always one full of practical jokes and shortcuts.  The expression on his face alerted that this time was no playful prank.  He shared that he'd been involved in an accident that spared his life but caused permanent injury.  The worst of it though was that there were lives that were lost.  I listened dumbfounded as he explained the details of the tragedy that would leave he and his family with fewer loved ones to partake in this year's Thanksgiving celebration.  There were no words I could offer that would be a proper consolation, but I attempted to offer encouragement and wished he and his family a pleasant Thanksgiving despite the circumstances.  As I continued through the grocery aisles with his story fresh on my mind, I realized my pace and focus had shifted considerably.  I began to take notice of others combing the aisles searching for their Thanksgiving fixings and all the things that they no doubt traditionally indulge in this time of season, oblivious it seems that any tragedy could disrupt their lives or what others like my friend might be enduring during this holiday season. 

It was in that moment that I realized the true spirit of gratitude.  Regardless of what the pilgrims ate however many moons ago or who's playing who on television or what store has the hottest Black Friday deals, the true spirit of this season is in the fellowship of family in friends who have returned to gather another year.  So what if I burn the turkey or the dressing is bitter.  I'll be glad to hear the complaints of those I love declaring that I'll not be allowed back in the kitchen for next year's feast.  I'll be happy to hear mumbling about too much mess to clean while others create an even bigger mess watching the big game.  I'll live in the moment as I hunt with fellow shoppers for the hottest electronics, gadgets and deals to wrap for Christmas, keeping the memory of my friend's story in mind.

This holiday season and every moment from now on...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from the BigGirl Chronicles and mine.  Warm wishes for a holiday season filled with love of family and friends, peace and prosperity for the new year.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2014


The Big Girl Chronicles: Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Month has started with some awesome products created to support breast cancer research, treatment and prevention. Below you'll find a link to some of your favorite retailers and brands that have featured products specifically for BCAM. 

Apparel  
       Aerie Limited Edition Bright Pink Bra


Cosmetics    
       Estee Lauder Modern Muse Solid Perfume Compact

       Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Lip Gloss Collection

       Aveda Moisturizer


Miscellaneous
        Tweezerman Tweezer

       Nest Fragrances Candle

To make certain your financial support is used as intended you can opt to make a donation in lieu of purchasing merchandise to organizations that have proven to have the best interests of those who benefit from breast cancer research the most in mind.  Click on the links below for more information:

 Susan G. Komen Foundation


National Breast Cancer


Breast Cancer Research Foundation

As always, remember to schedule your annual mammograms and take a friend along!  You can ante up your support by participating in events that aid in support and awareness of breast cancer research and prevention.  Protect your Ta-Tas!




*Susan G. Komen, Susan G. Komen Foundation nor any of its affiliates, organizations, employees or supporters participated in this post.  No breast cancer research organization contributed, participated, nor solicited support for this blog post.  None of the above mentioned products, retailers or any affiliates contributed to this post.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

10 Things About The Big Girl

The Big Girl Chronicles:  10 Things About the Big Girl

Reading over my previous posts I've decided that it's time to have some fun.  Sometimes I'm slightly "fun impaired." This post is to kickstart an increase in my "fun-o-meter."

 1.  After vanilla being my flavor of choice from childhood through young adulthood, I now find myself preferring chocolate instead.

 2.  Blue is my least favorite color.  I now own over 50 bottles of nail lacquer in various shades of blue, and about 1/3 of my wardrobe is some hue of blue.

 3.  I prefer the behind the scenes & special features of some movies sometimes more than the actual movie itself.

 4.  The first album I was gifted is Michael Jackson's Thriller.  The first cassette tape I was gifted is LLCoolJ Bigger & Deffer.  My first compact disc is Dru Hill 'Beauty' maxi single.  My very first MP3 download was Fastball's Outta My Head.

 5.  I'm newly obsessed with cute socks.

 6.  My first job as a taxpayer was a cashier.

 7.  My dad satisfied my curiosity at the taste of beer when I was a small child.  From that day to this I won't drink it.

 8.  I was a flower girl for the first time in a wedding around the age of 8.  It was there that I snuck to the champaign fountain and had my first sip of champaign.

 9.  My first pet was a rabbit my mother gave me for Easter.

10.  I put things back in the original packaging and boxes to make them seem new longer.

I was going for 25 things but have found myself not that interesting.  (Inject laughter) Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Big Girl Turns 2!!!



The Big Girl Chronicles

The Big Girl has had 2 years in the blogosphere!  If you’ve traced back to my first post you read that I went through a divorce, which sparked my blog.  I found myself back at a place I’d made preparations to avoid educationally.  Yet I managed other aspects of my life so poorly that I ultimately sabotaged myself.  I know it seems silly.  But not making decisions with my goals and interests in mind has allowed someone else to dictate my circumstances so much so until I awoke one day wondering how I ended up in such a mess so completely opposite of where I wanted to be.   And from there the digging began.  I had to sift through each decision I made to understand where (and how often) I made mistakes.

My blog has been therapeutic.  There’s retail therapy, and there’s blog therapy.  I’ve had quite a bit of fun with it, too - experimenting with the various avenues of expression in media.  There are so many who share common struggles and experiences that it is helpful to click on a link or visit a webpage and read about how someone else handled whatever obstacle or difficulty.  Or what’s trending.  And from those ideas form an online presence and identity that represent you.  I’m in no position to offer any advice about managing a blog.  From what I gathered, it’s all about what you want it to be.  When I began my blog, these are the things I took into consideration:

My Intentions

I thought about why I wanted to blog, and quite frankly it was because I had accumulated so many journals from writing all these years that it seemed more of a chore to have to store them or tote them around upon relocating.  And in keeping with the times, It’s quite obvious that each generation is progressing toward a future with less pen and paper.  Thus the blog. 

 The pros & Cons

Entertaining the what-ifs wasn't that much a concern because of my intentions.  I realized that my blog would be a reflection of myself and a stamp in the blogosphere of just that - who i am.  There is always potential to grow.  And I have blogged how I would like to be recognized... only I'm still trying to get to grown.  Not the kind of grown that is "deserving" of yes ma'ams and whatever.  But the kind of grown where i've managed myself less like someone subjected to circumstances and approval and more like how a responsible, independent woman of age is expected to manage her life.
 The pros and cons of it are essentially to blog at your own risk.  What is posted is a direct reflection of yourself to not only friends and relatives, but extends to all audiences - intended and unintended.

Expected Outcome(s)


I haven't any real expected outcomes for my blog.  I know that is a direct contradiction of many of my posts, such as Why Plan and others that are consistent with a theme of planning and preparation.   For the most part I wanted to focus on what’s worth preserving and how it’s presented rather than blogging about a bunch of crap that isn’t conducive to building character or bettering circumstances.  It's been interesting to learn that given the choice to focus on progress and growth or continue emphasizing faults and fallacies it seems most choose to keep with the latter.  Regardless, this blog is  my story and there is no pressure to meet any deadlines or subscriber quotas.  It's just me.


Healthy Balance


In my life I've noticed that a healthy balance is what has been missing and could hold some responsibility for how I became such a mess.  Things were always at one extreme or the other.  And I learned that what you focus on becomes what your world revolves around.  Seems like a "duh," right?  And it is until you realize that some things that have your attention have taken control of you.  Without a healthy balance that could be to your detriment.  If I focus on subscribers and deadlines rather than what I want my blog to represent, I risk compromising my intentions for the sake of an audience that I was never supposed to have.  That doesn't mean not to strive for that if an audience is part of the original purpose.  But it does expose who you are without it.  Was the blog about you?  Or we're you merely seeking attention?


The world is full of opportunity to achieve limitless possibilities. There are countless online platforms that allow anyone to do just that.  But as with anything else, not everyone is going to achieve the same measure of success.  If your idea of success is defined by how you compare with another you could be hurting yourself by deciding that you are a failure at something that - minus the comparison - has brought you some degree of satisfaction and growth.   The Big Girl Chronicles has been that.  My therapy.  My reminder that I might not always come out on top, but that's ok.  What matters most in my life is what I have achieved by my standards.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Formerly Considered Minor Appreciations


The Big Girl Chronicles: formerly considered minor appreciations

I was sitting beside my bedroom window completely engrossed in how I plan to make some changes for the second half of this year.  Thinking about the changes I intend to make is usually both a pleasant time full of optimism and a stressful cocktail of lingering “what if…?s”.  It would seem irresponsible and unrealistic to make plans and not consider the worst case scenario or avoid making any alternate plans altogether. Keeping grounded and finding balance becomes a challenge when your feelings about possibly not following through creep in.  Before you realize it, the feelings have dominated and your productive planning session ends without a clear, logical outline of your intentions and feelings of desperation. But the strangest thing happened as I was doing just that.  I looked out of my bedroom window and noticed how beautifully the sun was shining through the clouds and glistening on the grass.  Don’t get it wrong.  In the world of breathtaking views, the one from my bedroom window would definitely be the least of all.  Yet, As I looked up and noticed what was going on beyond What’s in plain view, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of calm… and appreciation.  Unemployment, poverty and divorce – the shift in socio-economic status – all these things have allowed an experience of life from a different perspective.  This experience is more than I could have learned reading a text or in any internship or facet of public service employment.  It’s an experience that has provided depth and insight beyond any that I could have ever empathized in any other capacity.  And the lessons in frugality have been priceless.  I’ve done so much excess spending.  Now I completely understand the power of the coupon and getting two for the price of one. or paying only $1 with it as opposed to $3.50 without.

Some other formerly considered minor appreciations:
·       A good deal on a simple item otherwise considered unaffordable for a LISP (Low income/Single Parent) budget.  Like being able to purchase my fave brand of ice cream because it’s on sale and I have enough customer loyalty points (And the coupon) to get the additional discount.  Before it didn’t matter that one pint of my favorite brand cost as much as two gallons of the generic.

·       The dollar store – With a miniscule budget the dollar store gives a little wiggle room.  There is much less of having to sacrifice When you can get quite a few of your cleaning supplies there and have enough cash leftover to afford some school function or event.

·        Thrift stores – pretty much self-explanatory.

·       The kindness of a stranger – Perhaps I wasn’t in the right circles before.  But since this change in socio-economic status I have experienced kindness from strangers that I’d not ever experienced before. Before there were certain “hook-ups” we all get from time to time because of an association or whatever social/civic memberships you have been subscribed to.  But to have a stranger who has no reason or obligation to extend a kindness generously do so is beyond incredible. 

Taking a moment to appreciate a beautiful day was the opened door to realizing how fortune can be uncovered among some unfortunate circumstances.  Our experiences and interactions are what shape us into the kind of person we grow to be.  Under any other circumstances, had someone warned that one day It wouldn't matter that I have a master's degree, i'd still end up living in public housing I would've thought them to be less than credible.  But what I've learned firsthand is of more value than what I could've recited from a textbook or quoted from a study.  I am satisfied with myself about how I have handled these circumstances I had prepared myself to avoid.  But I am more than pleased with the kind of person I have found myself to be in spite of it.    

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mental Health Awareness Month 2014


The Big Girl Chronicles:  Mental Health Awareness Month 2014

Millions of people in this country depend daily upon the mental health system for treatment and to advocate on their behalf.  However as with any other service, sometimes you find yourself surrounded by a system that is in dire need of repair itself before it can provide adequate and effective services to its consumers.  Some systems seem more enabling than operating with the intention of encouraging independence.  The reason this is allowed to continue I imagine is because the voice of a person diagnosed with mental illness is quickly silenced among the general “healthy” population, being disregarded as having the potential to exaggerate more than others or is less credible.  Also, no psychiatrist wants his decisions questioned and some tend to take offense when patients challenge them.  There are also instances when complacency is favored above creating a rift in schedules, routines and services that most employees would rather not be altered.  And let’s not overlook the fact that a long list of clients is always much more fruitful.     

Why is revamping the mental health system of such importance?  The answer is simple.  Of however many millions of citizens that reportedly endure mental illness, there are however many more who have watched a relative, friend or loved one get trapped in the system to the extent that they themselves shirk from getting help that could be necessary to assist with day to day living and/or prevent a personal catastrophe that could have unintended victims.  Additionally, we are bombarded with commercials advertising drugs that come with warnings of bodily harm while attempting to treat your mood or other psychosis that can also seem intimidating for someone wanting to engage in mental health treatment. Areas where some clients can seem to feel their mental health is being “held hostage” more so than being adequately treated include diagnosis, treatment and therapy (which pretty much encompasses the entire system). 

Diagnosis

It would be ideal to believe that most people who have mental illness are insightful enough to identify need for intervention and seek treatment.  Unfortunately that isn’t the case often times and it becomes necessary for someone else to assist in getting that person the help (s)he needs.  There are those who enjoy every moment of psychotic perceptions so much so that it has become a world within itself.  In those cases the need to “convince” the client that there is a need for treatment can (and often does) interfere with accurately identifying symptoms and behavior that support the correct diagnosis.  However, those who are insightful enough to identify need for intervention and seek treatment can -and sometimes sadly are- blindly thrown into a system that treats a diagnosis rather than the person.  For this reason, it could be more effective to consider more of the client’s personality and background in naming a diagnosis so that the client isn’t being robbed of those characteristics that make him or her the person (s)he is.  Someone who has always been lively, talkative and humorous with a bright personality could become lost in a bipolar diagnosis that could’ve been avoided had the doctor have been more aware of the client’s personality to differentiate what symptoms and behaviors have become problematic versus those that are part of the client’s persona.  Also, a client that has had such a bright personality would more than likely experience some degree of sadness and should be given a fair amount of time to adjust rather than immediately bombarded with diagnoses and meds, depending upon severity of illness. 
  
Treatment

As with any health concern, helping the client understand his/her symptoms and diagnosis is key to gaining full participation in mental health treatment and curbing regression.  After all, compliance is the single most important element in sustaining quality of life.  There are some clients that enter the mental health system eagerly hoping to begin an end to whatever form of psychosis has held their life captive for however long.  But remember the presumption mentioned above about those managing mental illness seemingly considered less credible?  How can the client feel comfortable enough to openly discuss their concerns if (s)he doesn’t expect those concerns will be taken seriously?  Or that those concerns are conjured up in attempt to avoid medication?  It seems unfortunate that the mental health system has a tendency to stereotype those it is intended to serve.    

Therapy

Ideally each client is to receive individualized care.  Individualized care is inclusive of not only access to those therapies that are easily available but also new therapeutic interventions and activities that could prove beneficial to clients.   What can be most therapeutic sometimes is to allow the client to lead rather than continuously layering information upon information and employing various techniques that can seem tiresome and draining to the client rather than therapeutic.   Also there can be a tendency to provide treatment and interventions based upon what a client might do.  Unless there is some absurd intention on behalf of the client or (s)he has shown potential to be a danger to self or others, it is counter therapeutic  to prevent clients from opportunities, ventures and interests that could be considered a form of therapy because of unfounded and unsubstantiated “maybes.”  

Media campaigns encouraging the removal of stigma from mental illness often describe life while managing mental illness as something that doesn’t have to interfere with quality of life.  To remain credible, it is imperative that the mental health system – or rather those that are employed within it- begin to advocate for and provide services to clients with the fewest restrictions necessary for treatment.  This being understood, if you or someone you know are experiencing a disruption in mental status that impedes your capacity for daily functioning talk to someone about it immediately.  You can contact your physician or local mental health facility to schedule an appointment and speak with a professional.  Early detection and treatment is essential to managing the deteriorating effects of mental illness and sustaining a desirable quality of life.  You can click the following links for more information:  




Monday, April 14, 2014

National Child Abuse Prevention Month


The Big Girl Chronicles:  National Child Abuse Prevention Month

I’ve compared statistics about child abuse in America.  I’m saddened at reviewing the numbers not just because there are so many but also because I realize that those statistics are only cases that have been reported, meaning that there are still however many more children out there who continue to suffer abuse.  I’m sure growing up you were aware as a child of something not quite right with a friend, fellow classmate, neighbor or peer that you later learned could possibly have been abuse.  Now as adults we have taken on the potential horrors that our parents once endured with the possibilities of abuse of our children away from the home.  Or that someone else’s child – one of our children’s peers, friends, a neighbor or classmate – is quietly being abused.  As with many unpleasant thoughts it’s easy to instead practice avoidance on the subject and distant our minds from the possibility that some child we know could be subjected to abuse, much less the thought that it could be your own child.  The truth of the matter is that if we are to do everything within our power as parents and responsible adults to help diminish child abuse, the first step is awareness.  We can educate ourselves about signs and symptoms of potentially abused children and what those different forms of abuse are.  Then we can get involved and properly report anything that seems legitimate.  Among the most important of steps we can take to diminish child abuse is educate our children, and to begin doing so at an early age.  Professionals have suggested talking with children about what is considered “good touching” and what kinds of touching are inappropriate. Arming your children with knowledge is one of the most important measures that can be taken to prevent your child and others from becoming victims of abuse.  

Click the following links for more information about child abuse.




National Sex Offender Registry    nsopr.gov