Getting Over Your Gym-Timidation: An Interview With Fitness Trainer Danya Love

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Fitness has become the new black. Everyone wants to be in shape, but some don’t know where to start. My friends make comments all the time about working out and getting in shape. They say, “girl I can’t get up that early” or “what you do is too hard, I can’t do pushups and burpees” or my favorite, “I’m going to start working out Monday.” Many people are intimidated by the gym and gym equipment because they don’t know how to use the machines or they think they are too weak or too overweight to be able to do most of the exercises when working with a trainer. You may know people that frequent the gym and they make it look effortless.

My mom doesn’t like going to the gym because her perception of the gym, much like a lot of other people, is a bunch of muscle men pumping…

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Losing My Religion

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Judge not lest you be judged. Meaning do not judge unfairly or selfishly. That’s what the bible says right? Yeah, it’s right there in Matthew 7:1…I just read it. So why do so many Christians specialize in being judgmental? For example, on a Saturday outing with my mom and aunt, my aunt asked if she could ask me a question. My reply, “sure, if I can answer honestly.” Before we get into that question, let’s take a little trip down memory lane. I grew up as Baptist the first few years of my life and then as a Jehovah’s Witness from the age of 9 until I was 18. I never really accepted all of their beliefs, always having questions but never speaking my mind. For example, when someone makes a mistake [sins] they are shunned. Forget the fact that everyone sins daily, consciously and unconsciously, because we know bout YOUR sin…because YOUR sin is public knowledge, we’re painting the scarlet letter on your chest until WE think you have redeemed yourself. What happened to ‘come as you are’? Everyone makes mistakes?

Back to my aunt’s curiosity…her question, “Did you not like serving Jehovah?” My response, “I still serve God, why would you ask me that?” She looks me in the eyes and says, “No, I mean Jehovah.” “Wait…you mean the same God you serve?” She says, “People aren’t always referring to Jehovah when they say God.” “Well I’m talking about the SAME God you’re speaking of. The bible calls Him by many names so YES we’re talking about the same God. Did you think I was talking about this ice in my cup. You think I’m worshipping ice sculptures now?” I asked her why she thought I didn’t like serving God. She said because of the activities I partake in and the fact that I have separated myself from that particular religion. “Soooo you mean since I’m out here freestyle sinning, I must have put God on the back burner?” She pretty much said, “Yes, that’s exactly what I mean.” Ha…wow. Never mind the fact that she’s being extremely judgmental right now…I’m a SINNER in her eyes.

Am I a bad person because I’m not connected to a church? Why do I need to be affiliated with a church or a religion to prove that I believe in or serve God? People attend church for a number of reasons:

  • They feel the need to be connected to other like-minded people
  • It’s part of their faith
  • To get and stay close to God
  • For spiritual guidance
  • Or because they were brought up that way

For me, it started out because that’s how I was brought up. Living in the house with my grandmother and watching her go to church every time the doors opened, naturally I thought that’s what you were suppose to do. I mean, how else was I going to avoid going to hell? It became a habit, a part of this thing we call life on earth. It then became a means to stay close to God. How could I be close to and have a relationship with God without being in church? As I got older I attended church because that’s what my circle of friends did. I wanted to be around them and if they went to church, I went to church too…monkey see, monkey do.

Once I realized that I didn’t have to be in church to have a relationship with God, which is the most important thing, I actually started focusing on my relationship with Him more. Like me show you what that looks like if that doesn’t make since to you. When I attended church on Sundays and Tuesday, I often waited until then to fall into worship and talk to God. I depended on the preacher to guide me into prayer, to hype me up to give Him praise. Like I couldn’t do it on my own. The preacher had to tell me what I should be grateful for and motivate me to tell Him thank You.

I lost interest in attending church a long time ago. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t bring myself to get up every Sunday morning. I don’t party much so I wasn’t staying out late every Saturday night, so being too sleepy or tired wasn’t the issue. The last time I attended church was Easter…pretty cliché of those non-church going people. You know, the Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day attendees. While I resided in Memphis I was a regular Sunday morning worship, Tuesday night bible study, Thursday night singles ministry member. But I realized that it wasn’t church itself that I was drawn to. It was the company I kept at the church that drew me in. I made some pretty awesome, lifetime connections. If it weren’t for my ministry group, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been in attendance on a regular basis. Once I moved back home I searched and searched for the perfect church. I couldn’t find what I had in Memphis and that’s when I realized that my main reason for attending was because of my friends. I struggled to find that same connection. I was looking for friends, like-minded people…not religion. I wasn’t searching for God. I talk to God everyday, not just when I’m at church. It finally hit me that I was losing my religion, thank God. And it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Until next time Laughers,

~Keep Laughing

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Kitta is an Interviewer and Freelance Blogger/Writer from Jackson, TN. She can provide blogging services for your business or product, and event coverage.

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Black Buying Power: The Importance of Supporting Black Businesses

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I have conversations regularly about how we as Black people should support Black businesses. When the option is available, we should always choose to work with a Black business owner, especially if it’s a locally owned small business. Minority business owners seem to suffer from the myth of offering bad service and not providing as good of a quality product as their white competitors. I’ll admit that I have often had that thought in past. I have a friend that always said she never lets an Asian do her manicures and pedicures. She will always find a Black nail tech and support her first. Me, being prejudice and ignorant about the abilities of my own people [Black] would say, “I don’t think anyone can do nails better than Asians.” Please don’t judge me by my ignorance, I’ve since broadened my mind and accepted that we [Blacks] are capable of absolutely any and everything.

When referencing Black owned businesses and entrepreneurs, people tend to make comments like, “Black people don’t know how to conduct business” or “I don’t support Black businesses because they can’t be trusted.” How do you know they don’t know how to conduct business or they can’t trusted if you’ve never given them a chance? So you mean to tell me that every white business owner is trustworthy and conducts business in a proper manner ALL THE TIME? Every last one of them? Nah bruh, I can’t except that. Whenever you hear about a business man embezzling the money of investors or a Ponzi scheme, isn’t it usually a white person? I’m sorry, that’s stereotyping isn’t it? But it’s true. The term ‘Ponzi scheme’ was even named after Charles Ponzi–a swindler, con artist and WHITE man from the early 1920s. So why are Black people seen as sub-standard when it comes to operating a legit business?

Whenever we get bad service from a retailer or restaurant, or any establishment that offers a service, we are quick to submit a complaint to the manager or through the business’ online website. We sometimes say we’ll never go back again, but after a short period of time we usually do go back. Especially if it’s a place that we frequent. Or if this business has multiple locations we’ll usually just visit a different location. Unfortunately, in most cases, Black owned businesses do not have multiple locations to choose from. Especially if it’s a locally owned small business. So let’s say you decide to support a Black entrepreneur and you receive not so favorable service. Instead of voicing your concerns or dissatisfaction, we just never go back; because that’s the kind of service you were expecting to get anyway right? But let’s say you go to Chick-fil-a and you get bad service; you’re more likely to complain and just vow to never visit that particular location again. But you can go to another location on the other side of town and still give your money to chick-fil-a. You can’t likely do that with a Black business because often times there is no other location.

Despite the lack of support, Black businesses are actually thriving. A 2011 survey of business owners conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the number of Black owned businesses increased by 60.5% between 2002 – 2007. There are multiple reasons we should support Black owned businesses. One is that they usually employ a high number of Black people, thus contributing to the decline of the Black unemployment rate. Those that open businesses in their own communities are helping to supply necessities to those who don’t have the means to venture outside of their neighborhoods and communities. We [Blacks] have a $1.1 Trillion spending power. Supporting more Black businesses contributes to the increase of Black incomes, giving families a chance to properly provide for their children and fund Black education. We should make a conscious effort everyday to buy Black. Even if we have to go out of way to do it. Other races and ethnicities are always going to stick together no matter what, it’s time for us [Blacks] to do the same. If you get bad service, which is most likely to be from an employee of that business, make it a point to talk to the business owner about it, even if you have to return at a later date. They want your business and will surely do what they can to rectify the situation. We should never think that what we are doing to personally contribute to the rise of the Black community is enough. It’s never enough…commit to doing more.

Until next time,

~Keep Laughing

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Kitta is an Interviewer and Freelance Blogger/Writer from Jackson, TN. She can provide blogging services for your business or product, and event coverage.

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Fatherless Daughters: 5 Things She Needs Her Father To Know

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Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

 

My relationship with my father has never been a close one. Even when I was a child he wasn’t around much. I saw him on holidays and I spent most of my summers in Missouri with him, accompanied by my grandmother. I thought I was fine with our relationship because, well, I was a child and when all you’ve ever had is a part-time dad you really don’t know that it’s suppose to be different. When he came around I knew that I could get whatever I wanted as far as material things. I figured that was his way of saying ‘I love you’–eventually I figured out it was his way for making up for not being around much. Even though I didn’t see him on a regular basis I still thought he was a good father. But that was partly because, at the time, I didn’t really know the difference between a good father and a bad one. It wasn’t until I got older that I started noticing things and became aware of the fact that my father could be doing a way better job. He played no part in raising me. He was more like the favorite uncle that you looked forward to seeing during the holidays and at the family reunion. As I got older the relationship got worse—virtually non-existent. He got married when I was in middle school and didn’t bother to tell me. The summer before he got married was the last summer I spent with him. I went several years without having any contact with him and finally got acclimated to not having a father in my life so I mentally blocked him out. It was like he was dead. I’m now in my thirties and since the age of 12 I’ve only spoken with him maybe 3 times.

No matter how old we get, we still need our parents around. We never stop needing our parents. We may pretend to be okay with that absent parent, but if those of us who don’t active an active father (or mother) in our lives, IT HURTS! The feeling of not being wanted, by your parent of all people, is one that cuts deep. If I had to speak for all women who had a father that chose not to be around, I would say there are a few things we need our father to know.

I cried when you didn’t show up.

Children remember everything. Every promise you made, everything you said you were going to do, every place you said you were going to take me…I remember. So when you made a promise to show up for me and you broke that promise it hurt. No matter how many times you broke your promises to me, I never got used to it and it hurt the same every time.

You were the first man to break my heart.                                                                                

I’ve had a few failed relationships and had my heart broken more times than I would have liked. But the first heartbreak I can remember is the one that came from you leaving me behind. Tossing me aside like I didn’t even matter. Did you ever think about me or miss me? I’ve recently been in the same room with you and watched you speak to everyone except me…like I wasn’t even there. Fortunately, I’ve learned that not all men are like you and I am now open to receive love and have children of my own.

I wanted you to choose me first.

Everyone wants to be put first sometimes–to be the first choice. I wanted to know that I was more important than everything else you had going on. Choosing your girlfriend, new wife, or other children that aren’t biologically yours should never happen. I should have never been in second place to anyone or anything.

When you hurt my mom, you hurt me too.

What goes on between parents should really have nothing to do with the child. No matter how well, or not so well, the parents get along, the child should always be priority and that relationship should not determine whether a parent remains in his child’s life. But no child wants to see either of their parents hurt. When I saw my mother visible hurt by the things you did and didn’t do, it affected me. I lost a little more respect for you each time I saw my mother hurt.

For some reason, I still love you.

Whenever someone does something to hurt us, we wish we could instantly turn off our love for them. Unfortunately, for our hearts it doesn’t work that way. I feel like I should have no love for you–I barely know you and you show me no love at all. But because you are my father, I still love you.

Fathers, you are the first EVERYTHING for your daughters. You are the first man she loves and respects. She looks up to you and to her you can do no wrong. She will either admire you for the way you treat her mother, or resent you for causing so much pain. She learns from you how to be treated by a man. That can either have a negative or positive effect on what and who she allows in her life. The relationship, or lack thereof, that you have with her mother shouldn’t affect you being there. She doesn’t want your money or your gifts, she wants your time. She wants you to love her and fight for her and protect her. Don’t be the reason for her tears, be there to wipe her tears.

Until next time,

~Keep Laughing

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Kitta is an Interviewer and Freelance Blogger/Writer from Jackson, TN. She can provide blogging services for your business or product, and event coverage.


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Can I Get My Shit Together Too?

cropped-cropped-logo1.png Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011

My best friend asked me if I would marry for money or love. I immediately said love…we can build together and get this money, but the love has to be my number one reason for saying YES! Then he shared a story about one of his coworkers whose girlfriend, who is also the mother of his child, wants to move in with him. He describes this girl as not having anything going for herself. She works a part time job so her income is not what it should be to maintain a household and take care of a baby. In addition, she has no real plans for the future. She is just living day by day, barely getting by. His dilemma, like it is not already obvious, is that he will have extra living expenses if she moves in. He thinks that once she moves in, she will probably quit her job and expect him to take care of her. Now I must mention that this young man works two jobs and is very active in his child’s life, both physically and financially, so the fact that she does not have her ish together is making him look elsewhere for love.

This made me realize, well I have always been aware of this, but men do not really put up with nearly as much from women. We women always like to “see the potential” in our men or “hold them down” and we do this a lot. Like a LOT…once we fall in love it is hard for us to see past the “ain’t shitness” in a man. Even when it comes to cheating, we women are more likely to forgive than men are. Why is that? What is it about women that make us hold on so much longer than men? Another example for ya, I have a friend that was dating a guy that she really liked. He found someone that he thought was a better fit for him. This young woman was a nurse so she already had an established career and doing okay financially. Nevertheless, do not get it twisted, my friend is no slacker. She takes care of business and is well on her way to having an awesome career. However, because she was not ‘established’ yet, her guy friend chose, what he thought was, the better choice based on her financial and career status. Well, his better fit cheated on him…so I guess she really was not the better fit huh? Hmph!

My best friend said that women are the same way when it comes to choosing a potential mate and dealing with relationships, but I beg to differ grasshopper. Yes, some women dismiss men because they do not meet their materialistic standards, the key word being “materialistic”. Those women are what we call gold diggers; they are looking for a meal ticket. Then you have your goal diggers; the women who are working hard to make sure they can take care of themselves and want someone that is equally ambitious. I always say, “He needs to meet me or beat me.” Meaning I want someone on my same level. I work, pay all my own bills, obtain my possessions using my own line of credit, I’m in the process of pursuing my Masters, and I hustle on the side maintaining my own blog and doing freelance writing for others. The point is, I do not want to work a 9 to 5 for the rest of my life and I want to have multiple streams of income so I always know that my family and I are good. I also do not want my kids to have to work for anyone other than my husband and myself. Therefore, when I say he has to meet me or beat, I mean he not only has to be on my financial level or working towards it, but he has to have the same thought process and goals for the future. We should be able to teach other.

So does a man ever wait for a woman to get her shit together? Nope! Sure do not! We are expected to have it all and be able to do all, on top of keeping our man happy so he does not cheat. If we cannot do that, we are quickly thrown into the reject pile. However, a man can be “getting his shit together” and he expects his woman to hold him down until that happens. Well, NO! We cannot be expected to stand by your side while your broke ass tries to make it if we know you would not do the same for us. I listened to another friend vent about the women he had dated recently, saying how none of them have it together. He even compared them to me, saying, “none of the girls I’ve dated recently have their stuff together. They’re not like you. You have your life intact. You have a job and can take care of yourself. I just don’t understand why these girls can’t get it together.” Well my friend, I did not always have my shit in place. I was once that girl that working on getting there. You cannot dismiss someone because they aren’t quite where you would want them to be. That does not mean you have to put up with “ain’t shitness”, just know the difference between potential and “ain’t shitness”. Know when you have a potential Michelle or Barack.

Until next time,

~Keep Laughing

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Kitta is an Interviewer and Freelance Blogger/Writer from Jackson, TN. She can provide blogging services for your business or product, and event coverage.

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