Lessons and more lessons: 2020

Hello Overcomers! I have a few more Hall of Famers, but I wanted to throw this in the ring.

The more I walk this mental health journey, I become more and more aware of the importance of relationships. Relationships are work. In relationships there is give and take and depending on the season, one may be giving more than taking. It takes true friends to tough out those seasons with you.

I find myself wanting to withdraw when I feel like I’ve shared too much or spend a lot of time worrying if I am “too much” or, if this was the day when my friends decide, “okay, I’m done.” I find myself thinking I need to give them a break from me. They constantly prove me wrong.

Being in a healthy relationship feels foreign when you’ve become accustomed to dysfunction – even if the dysfunction is in your head. I’m learning to take off the track shoes and will myself to stay put. I have to remind myself to stay put and allow my friendships to flourish, to accept the help when needed as well as reciprocate when the opportunity arises.

I make an intentional effort to say thank you to those who “stay in the struggle” with me. My friends listen to my rants, reel me in when I’m overthinking, making negative statements about myself, filled with anxiety, and making decisions that are not conducive to my purpose. They point me back to God when I’m out in left field and remind me that I can “cast my cares on Him” (I Peter 5:7).

I had such big plans for the start of 2020. However, I found myself going down the slippery slope of depression and anxiety in slow motion. It was happening so smoothly, I didn’t realize it was happening. Many changes were happening at one time. I started grad school, for starters, as well as a couple other adjustments I hadn’t prepared for. I had a couple of conversations in which I allowed to shake my faith in myself and my purpose. I had subconsciously decided I was done. I didn’t have the energy for anything. Getting out of bed became what felt like impossible – thank God for the right friends.

Dr. Thema, in her “Homecoming Podcast,” says: Internal oppression is believing the lies I’ve been told about myself and, the ways I have been treated is not a reflection of my worth.

The lesson this time? Change the way I speak to me. Adjust how I see myself. It was a clutching my pearls moment because I’ve done so much work! #sigh You ever thought you were looking pretty good until someone who really loves you shows you a mirror and points out you have lipstick on your teeth? 😱 I hear you. There are some things that will not change until I do. In order to make a change, I must change what I believe.  I get to decide what’s true of me and what’s not. Every piece of constructive criticism is not an affront to me as a person. I don’t have to accept every negative word spoken to me. Again, I’m learning.

Welcome to 2020, family. Lesson one, two and three is in the books for 2020. One documented failure on deck. However, this documented failure caused me to make some necessary adjustments to the overall plan which I call a win. Isn’t this the ebb and flow of life, though?

I am thankful for friends who love me. I am thankful for friends who will tell me the truth. I am thankful for friends who deal with my imagination, questions, and quirkiness. I am still learning. Learning to embrace who I am. Learning to love the girl who shows up in the mirror, flaws and all. I am learning to embrace that, although improvements will always be needed, I am fabulous and valuable because I’m me. You are fabulous and valuable because you’re YOU!

Dear God, as long as you’re with me. I can overcome anything. Thank you for sending friends to help me along this journey. Amen.

 

 

 

The Life of an Overcomer Presents: Tasha Marie

“My motto for 2020 is Talitha Cumi which means “little girl, get up” or “daughter arise.” 2020 is my year to arise.”
-Ms. Tasha Marie

img_1407Born and raised in El Dorado, Arkansas, Tasha Marie currently resides in Atlanta, GA. Tasha is a fashionista, a blogger, and an upcoming author and speaker. When I first read her blog, I remember thinking, this woman is the truth! The healing and transparency that exudes each post will have you waving your hand in the air like you just don’t care. Get your healing sister!

The time has gone where we are ashamed of our stories and ashamed of our struggle. Shame grows in silence. You may not start a blog, but whatever you need to do to heal, make that happen. Uh oh! I got caught up. Oops.

There are so many things I could say about Tasha Marie. She is kind, she is beautiful, and she loves fiercely. It’s important to know that when a person decides to come from behind a perfectly erected wall that was built for their personal security, it was an intentional act of God. It was also an act of sheer determination and perseverance on behalf of said person.

I have to say, talking with Tasha Marie her voice sounds sure, confident, and peaceful. Her sound conveys hope. The sound of her voice says, “the angels are singing over me and I don’t look or sound like what I’ve been through.” Her voice sounds like a reminder God is with you.

Have you ever spoken to someone, and more than what they were saying, they had a “sound” that could convey peace and calm to your heart? Just me? Okay. As a person who deals with anxiety, sound is important. Shout out to the people whose voices are a soothing balm to anxious souls.

Okay, okay…I’m getting into the interview. Are you ready? I present to some and introduce to others, Ms. Tasha Marie:

Me: Tell me about you?img_1464

Tasha Marie: I have been in Atlanta for over two years. It’s been an uncomfortable and challenging experience, like living in hell. Not the whole time, but I’ve been confronted with things that caused me to grow up.
I moved here because I got married, which I no longer am. That transition has been very difficult. I am in the process of rediscovering and learning myself. I am learning to love me again. I am falling in love with God again – in a different way. We were “beefing” at one point. (Don’t act as if you and God have always been on the same page, or even the same book. Hello?)

I am very family-oriented. I love family. Moving here, I gave that up. I didn’t know anyone here other than my spouse. It has been interesting to see how I grow and change being away from my family. I am learning to allow other people in my life and be like a family for me. It’s been an adventure, but it’s been hard.

I love fashion. This is funny because I use to be a tomboy. However, I still enjoy wearing basketball shorts, wife beaters and Chuck Taylor’s.

img_1410I love to travel and make new memories. I love to shop, hence the fashion blog. I’m a good person when you get to know me. I am a little rough around the edges. As an introvert, I realize that sometimes my demeanor can appear unapproachable, but I have improved and continue to improve.

I love to see people in their element doing what they love and passionate about. It brings so much joy to me. Supporting and encouraging people is like second nature to me. I love to help people. I want to be for others what I needed someone to be for me.

I’m becoming more into myself. Becoming more of who I am and who God called has called me to be. I have discovered many new things about myself. It has been interesting. I am growing and coming out of my shell more, discovering who I am, and the beauty of me.

Me: Tell me about your character? What makes you happy?

Tasha Marie: I am trustworthy. Being able to write and travel makes me happy. I am rediscovering the things that make me happy. Movies make me happy. Being able to finally find a community where I can be myself and talk freely without restrictions.
I am dependable. I am there for people – I want to be there for people the way I needed people to be there for me. That is important to me. I love to encourage and affirm people. (Tasha does this quite well. And will “snatch your edges” if you have any. 😏)

I take joy in seeing people in their element and doing the things they love. Knowing where they started and see where they ended.

I love music and dancing. I enjoy singing (mostly when I’m home alone…Lol). Most people don’t know I can sing. I enjoy writing and poetry.

Me: What does overcomer mean to you?img_1463

Tasha Marie: Ability to be triumphant. To prevail through adversity and what life throws at you. You fought. You overpowered what was trying to overpower you. Even in the moments when you felt like giving up, you persevere through it. You pushed yourself when you were afraid or seemed you wouldn’t make it through. Whatever life threw at you, you fought and were victorious in the end.

Me: What have you overcome?

Tasha Marie: Depression and suicidal thoughts, being sexually abused when I was younger, surviving cervical cancer, low self-esteem and self-worth, and most recently, my divorce. These are things that took a lot of work for me to overcome.

Me: Tell me about that work?

Tasha Marie: I knew God. I grew up in the church. I was very aware of God. When I went to college I wasn’t in church much. Some of the things I battled and went through, I realize it was God who loved me and protected me. He was there for me and protected me from myself. I was a mess!!

img_0813_originalI battled with low self-value and self-worth because of things that happened in my past. My father was not a part of my life, and I did not feel loved and appreciated. I looked for it in various ways. I had to fight for years to come out of depression.

I had to learn to love myself. The things I didn’t like about myself, I had to tell myself, “Tasha, you’re beautiful.” I didn’t love my gap, and I had to remind myself I am beautiful and to tell myself that I love those things. It was hard because I didn’t know how to articulate those feelings.

I wrote a lot. I started reprogramming how I saw myself. I began to build my confidence in myself. I used to be a tomboy, so I began to take care of myself. I started dressing up and getting into fashion. I hated my body, so I used to cover myself up a lot.
With my divorce, I had to sit in my truth. I had to own my mistakes. I had to own that I was a rude person back in the day. I had to own that I had been really mean and I didn’t like the way I made people feel sometimes. I was hard on myself and critical. I had to start owning those truths about myself. I had to learn to work on those things to be better so people wouldn’t view me that way.

I had to learn to be vulnerable. I thought vulnerability was a weakness. I had to learn to be vulnerable with God because we haven’t always seen eye to eye. I would ask him, “If you love me, why did you allow this to happen? Why didn’t you protect me? Why…”
I always struggled with seeing God as Father because of my natural father. It wasn’t easy to love him because I felt like He didn’t love me because of the things that transpired in my life.img_1405

When I hear people talk about Abba father, I would think, I don’t know how to be a daughter because my natural father wasn’t a part of my life. How do I be a daughter or allow someone to be a father to me when I don’t know what a father looks like or what they’re supposed to do? I’ve heard of what they’re supposed to do, but never seen or felt it. How do I receive that when I am supposed to be looking at God as Father? I struggled with seeing these things.

In the midst of my struggle, God has still shown me grace. He did not abandon me in the moments when I thought He did. It’s still hard, but I’ve been re-repairing my relationship with God. Learning all of who He is has helped me to overcome many things.

I have had to do my work. I had to own my truth, I had to sit in it. I asked myself, “What are you going to do to correct that?” I had to learn to trust people again. I had to learn to love people, allow them into my space. This was difficult because I never felt safe with people getting close to me.

img_1404It’s uncomfortable work, but it’s worth it. I had to go back to those uncomfortable spaces of traumatic events, reliving the events of sexual abuse, spaces where I was hurting because the little girl in me needed to be healed. The little girl in me is the one who doesn’t feel safe. (Take a deep breath, let that marinate.)

I had to go back to those places and allow myself to grieve. The failed relationships, friendships, and the things which I tried and failed. I hadn’t allowed myself to grieve and properly assess how they affected me. The journey has been tumultuous, but I know at the end of it there is beauty. The work that I am doing now will be beautiful in the end.

Me: Tell me about your blog?

Tasha Marie: I enjoy writing; it’s how I express myself. I always felt like I didn’t have a voice. It’s something I struggle with today. Thinking if people would want to hear what I have to say. I have a story and do people need to hear my story? I still struggle with that. However, because of the things I have experienced, I can’t be silent anymore.

In 2018, I started my blog. One day I told myself that if I didn’t start it, I knew I would never do it. So, on Thanksgiving 2018, I published my first blog. I needed an outlet to be able to talk about the things I have experienced. Although I am a very transparent person, it has been difficult to share my truth. It has been helping others heal and it has helped me in my healing process as well.img_1409

It allows me a platform to tell my testimony. We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). Blogging a way for me to put my testimony out there. It is a way for people to know they are not alone with the things they struggle with. Sometimes I feel like I share too much, but then I get messages thanking me for being transparent.
I write about my life experiences that I have overcome. I have a blog called I Survived It. I write about the things I’ve learned during my process or my journey since moving to Atlanta because it’s been very interesting.

It is also an outlet to remind myself that I do have a voice. I am learning to remove the muzzle from my mouth. I am learning to be more open and transparent about sensitive subjects. Furthermore, it’s a way for me to remind myself I am not invisible. I have a voice. I am healing in the process of my journey.

img_1461
Dance, Lady!

Me: Will we get a book from you in the future?

Tasha Marie: Yes. I have been contemplating writing a book for a while. I have a title. I have written an outline for it, but I haven’t written it out. Some of the blogs I write, I could incorporate in the book. I have to remind myself it needs to be written because sometimes I disqualify myself. I have to believe in myself that what I have to say is worth saying. Prayerfully, I will release it in 2020. No, I will not give you a deadline, because you will hold me to it. (You see how she talks to me? Tuh! 😂)

When I meet people, I tell them that when they meet me, they meet growth. They have no idea the journey I have been on to get to this point. Even talking to people is growth for me. The most many would get out of me is, “Hey.” If you don’t ask a question, I am not supplying information. (Y’all! She sounds just like me! My Atlanta people don’t know this side of me, but where my Texas people at? They know. Glory to His name!)

Moving here was uncomfortable for me, especially not knowing anyone other than my husband at the time. He is an extrovert, so it was an adjustment. For me, it felt like an invasion of space. Though uncomfortable, it was necessary. You get a lot of revelation after the fact. Marriage will bring out things in you that you didn’t know existed. It also exposes things you were aware of that you need to improve or learn at the moment you have to work on.img_1408

This move was both good and bad. God worked on me both inward and outward. He exposed many things I needed to work on. He reveals things to heal them. I used to say, “God examine my heart.” You have to be careful what you ask for because if you’re not ready to face it, you’ll find yourself in an awkward place. The people around you don’t understand what is going on, but I didn’t understand it either.

This journey, although it has been very hard, has caused me to grow up spiritually and mentally. I am self-aware, due to the things I’ve endured over the past two years. Some things I was aware of and ran from it. Some things I wasn’t aware of and had to face. He took away all of my comfort zones – I’ve been uncomfortable for two years. Even though I’m uncomfortable, I am settled because the uncomfortable feeling is not as unbearable as it was in the beginning. It’s a journey.

I am smiling more now.

Me: Where do you see yourself in 2020?

Tasha Marie: I’m working on a lot of things. Some of my dreams have been resurrected. My hope is alive again. My creativity is flourishing. There will be journals. My website will be up. I am working on a book. I love photography so I will be more active in that, not for business, but for the joy of it.

img_1462I will be more one with myself than I have ever been, I will be the best version of myself as I walk into who I am meant to be. You will see her almost at her full capacity. I am nervous to meet her, because of all that comes with it. I see myself speaking – there will be speaking engagements. There will be entrepreneurial endeavors. My blog will flourish. I will do more fashion and assisting people with fashion from a stylist perspective.

2020 will be a big year regarding Tasha Marie, the brand. (Yes! You have to declare your own destiny!)

The people God has set to staff my life will prayerfully be in place. A solid community.

My motto for 2020 is Talitha Cumi which means “little girl, get up” or “daughter arise.” 2020 is my year to arise. I will gain beauty for ashes. I will gain my wings. (Did you feel that resonate in your heart? Grab that for yourself. Daughter, son, ARISE!)

You may find Tasha Marie at:
Facebook: Tasha Marie
IG: BeyondtheJaggedPieces and _Tasha_Marie__
Blog: https://beyondthejaggedpieces.wordpress.com/

The Overcomer’s Hall of Fame Presents: Eddie Sanders

Let’s meet Eddie Sanders

img_0845Eddie Sanders, M.Ed., is a native of rural Toomsboro,GA. He is an alumnus of Savannah State University, graduating with a degree in English Language Arts. Eddie is recently an M.Ed. graduate of Georgia Southwestern State University.

Eddie teaches elementary school, but has launched OSEA (OnSite Education Anywhere). As a Private Family Educator for working minors and home-schooled students, Eddie’s primary purpose is to provide a unique learning experience for the student who is on-the-go.

In addition to all Eddie does, he is an advocate for justice. I’m proud of Eddie for boldly proclaiming “unpopular truths,” even when feeling apprehensive. He knows he must speak out. Not only does he speak out, he seeks solutions.

I had so much fun speaking with Eddie (as I always do). He’s expressive, funny and serious simultaneously.

Let’s get into this conversation:

img_0843Me: Tell me about Eddie? (I gave Eddie my little speech about what this question means. On the many interviews I’ve done, people often answer what they do instead of who they are.)

Eddie: I am a small town country boy. Rural Toomsboro, GA had a population of less than 1000 people. I grew up weird, counting trees because my imagination ran wild. I hated being in a small town with little opportunities. As a kid, I wanted more and knew it would be through education.

In my mind, education was the key to my success. I had an uncle who did well for himself and advocated for college. I thought I would go to college and get money. I thought people who went to college had money. When I began my college career, I didn’t know what I wanted to do I just knew to major in English.

I had a fascination with creativity which at first was limited to people in img_0842church. I knew a lady who could sing like Dorinda Clark Cole and play the organ like Twinkie Clark. I wondered if people loved her beyond her gift. She would say she wanted to be in the entertainment industry.

I remember the discussion around this young lady. People was saying she was crazy. It bothered me that people are used like Christmas gifts – used until it breaks. It was then I knew I wanted to become a personal assistant or counselor.

I am humble enough to follow, but confident enough to lead. I’m concerned with justice for the “underdog.”

I’m also: Shy. Loyal. A Leader. Rebellious. An Advocate. Innovative.

Me: What does an overcomer mean to you?

Eddie: Imagine a mountain…a swift exchange. Imagine an airplane flying over it. There’s quick movement. The mountain is such a large, object but the peak is a little smaller. Once you climb to the top, you have overcome.

When you look down, you can either pity yourself for having to climb the mountain, or you can look down and grab others that are climbing the mountain after you.

How you choose to respond makes you an overcomer. (👀 I forgot to tell you, Eddie can preach. This was one of those moments right here. Selah. Ssshhh, don’t tell him I said it.)

Me: What have you overcome?

Eddie: Hate for my father. I used to hate him so much. I began to realize that hate is directly related to hypocrisy – the child of hypocrisy. I could no longer ask God for the grace I wouldn’t extend to others. I listened to his story and how he was raised. He was neglected by his father. I realized his neglect came from being uneducated. Uneducated in the sense that he didn’t know how to be a father.

img_0844As a kid, I didn’t fit with the group because my parents were married when I was born and they were in the church, but my father left when I was two years old. I remember not knowing where my story fit and why his family didn’t hold him accountable. My father is very silent. There was no one around to ask them the right questions – if they had, my parents would have never married. Remember, I’m from the country and marriage is promoted more than wholeness.

Me: How long did it take you to get to the point of love and forgiveness?

Eddie: Years. My father grew up in the city, and I was in the country. We didn’t have much. When we did come to Atlanta, we would usually stay with an uncle or grandmother. They lived in nice homes; they had a completely different lifestyle. It was like two different worlds.

I felt less than. It affected my self-esteem. I felt like my father didn’t want me in the family.

I started the process after coming to All Nations Worship Assembly – Atlanta (ANWA) and began to hear about healing, forgiveness and rejection. Although I rejected this notion at first, I began to have compassion for him.

Me: Has this played a pivotal part in how you are today?

Eddie: Yes. I was one of the popular kids in school, but I still felt like the underdog. I was the homecoming king and class president. However, it didn’t stop me from being bullied. I had to learn how to “come back” very easily. This is why I am the way I am about injustice.

Me: I am glad that in everything you went through, you didn’t allow it to muzzle you. You didn’t allow it to take your voice.

Eddie: You know, growing up I really believed the bible. I believed everything they told me. I believed we are all the same and if you’re wrong, you’re wrong, no matter who you are and what your title is. I didn’t learn the alternative until I got older.

Me: Tell me about OSEA. How did it come about?img_0841

Eddie: In college wanted to work in the entertainment industry. You remember when Whitney Houston died? No one really knew that her and Kim Burrell was that close. Kim covered her, showed herself to be a true friend. I want to be a Kim Burrell for others.

My career is the epitome of the scripture that says, “all things work together for good…” (Romans 8:28).

When I graduated college, I knew I needed to get a job. I wanted to travel, but I knew I needed to teach. I went to get  an MDiv but dropped out after the first month. Every day when I went to school, my head would hurt terribly. I knew I was supposed to teach and it wasn’t the season for divinity school. I thought I would meet an athlete and tutor his child.

I went back home and worked at Dollar General for a while. The people in my hometown encouraged me to work at the school as a teacher. Although I took the job,  I could not ignore the desire to work in entertainment.

Shortly after, I moved to Atlanta with a refund check and a promise from a friend to sleep on their sofa. People told me I wouldn’t find a job because I needed experience. I received multiple offers.

When I started coming to ANWA, people were asking what brought me to Atlanta, which made me remember why I came here.

Young actors and actresses, minors of actors. Who will educate them? God said, “You will.”

OnSite Education Anywhere (OSEA) was born!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ME: Tell me, where do see yourself in five years?

img_0847Eddie: I see myself as the founder behind a brand that is a household name. OSEA being in homes and on sets. Much traveling and touring along with the ability to hire.

Anywhere there is a working minor, OSEA will be and we won’t be too far removed from the local home-schooled students.

My vision is to purchase houses throughout the Atlanta area and the world and turn them into home schools.

Me: I admire your strong stance on justice and advocacy. What do you see yourself doing with that?

Eddie: Advocacy? I don’t know right now. And it’s okay you add that. People should know you won’t always have the answers. (Don’t you just love him?)

You may find Eddie “Mr. Osea” here:
Website: onsiteed.org
Facebook: Eddie Sanders
IG: onsite_ed

Overcomer’s Hall of Fame: Happy Thanksgiving 2019!

088a6e99-a83c-42b9-9955-fe315a41b5c9You know me, Nicole Sharon. My friend Margo asked me who was going to interview me for The Overcomer’s Hall of Fame. It would be weird to interview myself so I’ll answer the questions.

The Overcomer’s Hall of Fame is an idea that I’ve been pondering in my mind for a few years. I was reading Hebrews 11, which is known as the Hall of Faith and I wondered, “What if I did this in a modern way?” In October 2019, during a time when I felt my faith level diving especially low, I decided to jump out “in faith” and invite some people on this journey.

I have more “Hall of Famers” coming soon. Stay tuned.

On Being an Overcomer:

5daafda6-8fc8-44f9-9824-818a40970ed7I look at everything in the face that tried to kill me and laugh – including the girl in the mirror. It’s not my first response, but it’s my final response. I made it through! Depression. Anxiety. Self-injury. Suicide. Ha!

Oh, I cried. A lot. I felt shame. I felt condemned. I felt angry. I felt defeated. Once I got through feeling all that, I recognized God’s strength is available to me. I realized I don’t have to lean on my strength at all. I also realized He puts community around me who really love me. It’s been hard for me to fully receive it, but I’m learning.

What have I overcome?

wordswag_1541009195712I’ve been writing this blog since April 2018, and I want to tell you something. This overcoming is one day at a time. Sometimes one hour, one minute, one second…

There’s always something. There’s always an irrational thought to destroy. There’s always a hurdle to, well, overcome. There’s always me. As long as there’s a me, there will be something I need to overcome.

I’m saying this because many times we attribute our issues to external circumstances when I’d venture to say about 97.5% of the problem is ourselves.

Not one person has the ability to stop my greatness but me.

Isn’t that life? Ups and downs? If you’ve ever been to the hospital or seen someone’s heart being monitored on the machine, the up and down marks represent life.

At the bottom of it all, I’ve learned that overcoming is giving myself the same grace I extend to others – forgiving me. That means giving myself permission to heal – no matter what the process looks like. Some days painful, frustrating, or sad. Some days are joyful and calm. Understanding the process. Knowing it’s okay.IMG_20180728_110329_435

I thought I knew how to receive love. This year has taught me to allow people in past the surface level. I didn’t realize how much I’ve learned to hide and isolate. I am learning, really learning, the value of community. Allowing myself to be loved, confronted, encouraged, and prayed for. I found myself asking why? Why are they being so kind to me? Why do they care?

I forgot my own advice: God will not put you on this earth and not give anyone the heart to love you. Somebody on this earth loves you. It’s up to you to allow them.

Overcoming is the process. Healthy decisions. Failures. Wins. Good days. Bad days. Learning from failures. Learning to love who I am. It’s all overcoming.

The suffix “ing” means action or process.
It looks like this:
I overcame.
I am overcoming.
I will overcome.

My Affirmation:

A fall doesn’t equate to failure. It also doesn’t mean I have to start over.

Having said that, my affirmation is that my journey is mine. I am learning to forgive myself quickly and continue my journey. This season is not a life sentence, it’s a part of my journey.

My journey is important. I am learning patience with myself in the journey.

I am learning that I am not a bother to others. I am learning that community is still important. I am learning it’s okay to fall sometimes as long as I resolve to continue on my journey. It’s like running into a McDonald’s in every city on a road trip. It doesn’t mean I went backward; I just ran into the same issue.

This year, I expected to have a great year with no setbacks. I found myself in a very low space and, for the first time in a long time, I considered the alternative. However, God is kind. He reminded me that I have a reason to live and this season will pass.img_0165

Every time I go through this, I learn something different about myself. I also learn more about the grace of God. He’s so longsuffering. I also learn something about the people He places in my life. I can’t imagine what they feel, and I am slowly learning to trust that I am loved and I am worth the investment of their time and prayers.

A bump in the road doesn’t mean stop, it just means slow down. Think, regroup, pray. But you may still proceed.

About 2019:

In 2019, I completed two manuscripts, Texts from an Angel and a devotional, A 7-Day Journey for the Overcomer.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I took my first professional photo shoot in about thirty years.

I’ve officially launched a business! Business license and everything! Nicole Sharon, LLC: I am a professional writing coach. I offer these services: proofreading, transcription, and administrative support.

Where to find me?

My links are on this site. Feel free to follow.

On IG and Twitter:
@thenicolesharon
Facebook:
The Life of an Overcomer (blog page)
Nicole Sharon, LLC (business page)
Nicole Sharon (personal page)

Here’s a clip from the movie “War Room.” It sums up my year:

This is a tough time of the year for many. I understand. I can’t wait for January. You don’t have to lean on your own strength or try to fight on your own. God is here to help you. Allow your friends to be your strength. My Pastor said to me: “You have family. You no longer have to fight on your own. When you don’t have the strength, allow them to fight for you.”

I’m telling you the same thing. You are loved. You are worth the investment. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but you are. Feel free to reach out to me. Let me know how you’re doing. Have a great holiday season!

From your head to your heart

I’m thinking about what I know versus what I “know.” It’s said there is only eighteen inches between my head and my heart. Eighteen inches? That’s less than two feet! This is baffling to me.

db487841-3ce0-4a3b-81a8-67f12e2856bc-3909-00000384239f5c10-1This is how this looks to me: Knowledge in my head refers to things I’ve learned. I read it, I took a class, I heard about it. Maybe its information I have committed to memory. I may not have personal proof, but I believe what I’ve been told. However, when I receive new information, the information I have is challenged causing me to be unsure of what I knew before.

Knowledge in my heart is information I know based on evidence or rather history. For example, you can’t make me believe that my red shoes aren’t going to be comfortable. Every time I wear them, they are comfortable. I can take long walks without my feet hurting. Or, you would have a hard time convincing me that “Ann” is an evil woman. It would easier to believe that maybe Ann had a bad day or possibly an evil twin. I’ve known Ann for thirty years and she’s honest, sincere, kind, patient and loyal. Based on my history with Ann, I know it would take an extreme circumstance to rile her up.

This leads me to my case.

I know I’m great – in my head.

I know I’m smart – in my head.

I know I’m capable of reaching my goals – in my head.

I know I can succeed in business – in my head.

I know what the Bible says about me. I am God’s treasure. I am beloved. I know these things – in my head.

7697b5e3-83d3-43df-947d-b8073518431c-3909-00000384d3582293Then why don’t I live like I know? Why don’t I hold my head up like I know? Why is fear, self-sabotage, and retreat my default response? Time after time, I have this conversation with myself. I have this conversation with others. I journal about it. I write a goal list. I tell myself I can do it. I’m ready to go. Until it’s time to actually go or what we say now: level up.

Also, why do I have more confidence in Ann than I have in myself? Wasn’t I smart to pick a friend like her? Doesn’t that show good judgement on my part? Why can’t I give myself credit for my accomplishments?

Now, it’s a week later, and I haven’t started on the goal I set and I am fussing at myself. The self-condemnation and verbal abuse. The problem with this conversation is it’s counterproductive. Berating myself doesn’t motivate me to do anything different. Even when my peers encourage me, I can’t receive it because the negative things I say to myself is speaking louder in my head than the encouragement and vote of confidence they are offering.

You may say: Wait! Aren’t you the same girl who tells us about declarations and affirmations? Doesn’t that make you a hypocrite?

Well, yeah. Yes, it does make me a hypocrite. I’m a hypocrite in process of change. I recently learned my declarations must be statements that I believe. If it’s something I want to believe then I should repeat it as such. So, I will admit, this revelation has changed the way I do declarations. For example, instead of making the declaration “I am confident.” The new declaration or affirmation is, “I am learning to have confidence in myself. I am learning to acquire wisdom from my losses. I am also learning to celebrate my wins.”

The latter statement is different because it makes me personally responsible for steps to build my confidence level.

As I implement this new knowledge, my goal is to be more consistent in what I know I’m supposed to do; things I enjoy doing.

There’s much unrest this time of the year. Lots of conversation and bemoaning regarding what has or has not been accomplished for the calendar year. For me, it produces anxiety because, without a solid plan, the “discussion” is counterproductive. And didn’t we moan about this last year? Cycles…

So, I take time out to evaluate. And I deal with the why. Why didn’t I do what I set out to do? What about my thinking and sabotaged me into not pursuing my dreams?

What’s the point, you say? I’m reminding us that any successes we have achieved in life means we have the tools to be successful again. If we had the tools to win before, we can win again. Let that sink into your heart. Let’s learn to cheer for ourselves with the same energy we cheer for others.

I have a 7-Day Journey available on this page. Just click the link and download. Please follow and share. Let me know what you think. I think I’ll go back and read it again.

Cycles

I’ve been on a consistent roller-coaster for years. Maybe I should call it a merry-go-round. I’ve not been able to fully embrace healing and freedom because of one thing. Cycles.

Here’s how it looks. I work my plan and I get settled, becoming comfortable. I’m doing great.Six months. One year. Maybe even two years. No anxiety or panic attacks. No cutting. No extended periods of depression anger or picking at my skin. Until…

The problem with until is I don’t realize I’m tumbling slowly down a steep hill until someone says something or I find myself frantically searching for something to cut with. After much frustration, I am forced to reflect over the previous weeks, recognizing the cycle I easily fell into. Isolation, silence, anger, feelings of inadequacy. It looks different, same cycle. Anger because I “should” have recognized what was happening.img_0237

How do I fully embrace healing and progress knowing there might – no, will be another bad day. Another bad week and possibly another bad month. For me, it is disheartening to know that another season will come around. But don’t we all have struggles? Don’t we all have things that we deal with? Of course. 

In DBT (Dialectical behavioral therapy), there’s a practice called radical acceptance. Radical acceptance says, “I accept things I have no power to change.” For me, it means while I prepare for better things, will not stress over where they are now. I am giving myself permission to grow. It’s my response to knowing that depression and anxiety are diagnosis just like high blood pressure or arthritis.32db9a89-6f0f-49ea-b640-cbbd19186185-27583-00001bcc12b45615

What’s the difference this time?

Grace. I’m learning to extend grace to me. What does that look like? Not being ashamed or condemned for how I am feeling. Owning my feelings and working through them. Accountability by letting my community know where I am. Accepting the help I need. Recognizing the progress I’ve made. Reviewing my plan of action and making necessary adjustments.

Grace. Taking a time out when I need it while being intentional not to isolate. I’m still learning not to respond to these seasons with anger and frustration.

Cycles. Unhealthy cycles are made to be broken. I refuse to be stuck in a cycle. Another way to extend grace to myself and break this cycle is by being aware. I must explore what is happening internally, deal with my triggers and learn a different response. Learning my triggers and how to work through my feelings takes the potency out of the trigger.

a9b8ab20-9664-4fa8-b37a-e48a9b90d1c9-27583-00001bcc4a5c4e7dUnderstanding your triggers is like having an emergency fund. A financial emergency doesn’t have the same stress attached to it when you already have the money set aside for the “emergency.” This is the same with triggers. When you understand them, you are already prepared to deal with them when they happen.

My therapist says the healing process is like an onion. There are layers, which means I must give myself grace as I dealt with each one. 

 

Declarations:

  • I am not stuck in a cycle
  • I am an overcomer
  • I accept me for who I am
  • I am valuable
  • I am learning to process my emotions in a healthy way
  • I am learning my triggers – I have power over them
  • God has equipped me with the strength and ability to handle my emotions
  • I take ownership and responsibility for my healing

Here is a portion of the lyrics from the song that helps me:

“This will end like I want it to, I win
The enemy will have to lose again
See, I’m a different fighter now
And I have God to thank
‘Cause His joy is my strength
See the devil will learn it’s a mistake
When I am sure
That I’m not going in cycles
I’m not going in cycles
I’m gonna break these cycles
I’m not going in cycles”

What’s In Your Cup?

I’ve been reflecting about cups. Psalms 23 speaks of our cup running over. I gained a new perspective regarding this scripture when I heard someone say, “what’s in the cup is for you; the overflow is for others.” Or you may have heard the proverb, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”

I believe this is what happens in our lives. We are givers. We feel bad when we can’t give. We place expectations on ourselves which leave us void of physical and emotional energy. The premise of the cup is this: you can only give what you have in supply. If you give it all away, what do you have left?

When you’re on a plane ready for take-off, the flight attendant gives you the “safety speech. This is what the attendant says: “In the case you need a mask, put yours on first then help your neighbor.”

What’s in your cup?a55dbf15-e539-4814-bb1f-fcdb631e8641-11758-00000cc346d035cd

You need peace? Joy? Hope? Endurance? Love? Faith? I submit to you that it will be easier to give these things to others when your cup is filled with them. The scriptures say, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Do you see the prerequisite here? You pour from your personal reservoir. I’m going to tell you this: It is your job to make sure your cup is full. 

Yes, I said it. It is your job to make sure your cup is full. I don’t want you to hear me say you should do it by yourself or you can’t give. No, the point is to take care of you with the same fervor you use to take care of other. Use every available, viable resource to keep your cup full. For example, my cup is filled by going to the park talking to the ducks (weird right?). I also enjoy reading, listening to music, talking to a friend and writing. The best thing for me is silence. I sit with a journal, or not, and enjoy stillness. How refreshing!

What can you do to keep your cup full? I want to challenge you to do those things. You can also call this a self-care routine. I promise, everyone and everything will be fine without you for the time you need to regroup and recharge. Have a family? A demanding job? Steal ten minutes here and there. When it comes to your job? If you get sick or hurt yourself and must be off, they will figure it out.

I enjoy encouraging people. When I say enjoy, I mean I become totally giddy when I have an empowering thought and I share it with others. Every week I send out thirty or more texts. Sometimes, they are saying, “Hey! I pray you’re having a grand week. I love you!” The texts are often accompanied by an emoji. When I couldn’t get a positive thought to come to mind, I knew my cup was running low. It’s my job to get my cup full and overflowing again. I have a remedy for that, this weekend, I am going out to a beautiful place, sit by some water, in silence, and reflect.

How do you know your cup is running low? I’m glad you asked! For me it’s agitation, frustration, withdrawing. This week, the weight of suicide prevention month, along with 911 knocked me off balance. I was scrolling Instagram, and found out a pastor had committed suicide. Though I get emotional like the normal person, I couldn’t shake the heaviness. The emotional pain I felt was almost too much. At first, I got angry because I was being so emotional. After a few moments, I realized I had every right to be emotional and sad! There are people dying from suicide. Many people died on 911.

Giving myself permission to mourn is a form of self-care. Stuffing our feelings and pretending we’re okay when we are not is counterproductive.

Please be kind to yourself.
Take care of your cup.
Keep it full.
Allow it to overflow.
When you feel your supply running low, take the necessary time to refuel.

Blessings!

 

“Default Settings”

f422f220-b596-41e4-9ff9-faf0b65bbdb5-9435-00000c89541b4967

If you’ve ever worked on a computer or a cell phone and went to settings, it will ask you if you would like to “restore to default settings.” What is your life default settings? How do you respond to life? Conflict? People? Certain situations? Let’s talk about it.

I learned something recently. Pain & trauma in your memory has no time line. So until it’s processed and healed, it will feel like it just happened and you go back to that place often. Many even feel through symptoms in the body (stomach pain, for example).

img_0832

I’m learning, as I heal, to remind myself that it’s over. The past, pain, nor trauma has no bearing on who I am or who I will be. Trauma doesn’t diminish my worth.

Fight for your healing. It won’t come for you. You must fight for it.

You’re worth it.

Having said that, I am in pursuit of changing my “default setting.” I was talking to someone the other day and I was telling them how I usually respond to conflict-that it was my default setting.

Later, I began to think about that. I didn’t like it.

Don’t I have the power to change? Don’t I have the right to adjust my thinking, my perspective, and my actions? Of course I do.

I’ve added another component to my mental health. It’s call DBT (Dialectical behavior therapy). In my limited understanding (I’ve only been to one class), DBT teaches you coping and management skills. The major thing I’m working on right now is learning how to properly process anxiety. I am determined that anxiety will not run or ruin my life.

I believe that the undercurrent that produces anxiety can be processed and healed. When I say undercurrent, I’m speaking of the pain that is stored in your body. You don’t realize it’s still there, but it doesn’t mean we can’t heal from it. I often wonder where anxiety comes from because, in my mind, I’m not thinking about anything. In many recent instances, I’m having a good time before it shows up. In my mind, this is the undercurrent; a warning of something I need to be aware (but not afraid) of.

I’m not a professional, but I do a lot of reading and researching. I’m a thinker/over thinker. The purpose of this post is to give us another perspective that will hoped lead to answers and healing. And to hopefully have a better understanding regarding what I’m experiencing. It helps me to change my default settings.

No, I don’t want to be restored to my default settings. The default setting have not served me well. I am creating new settings. How about you? Let’s do it!

img_1219

 

Love, Hope & Joy

Hello all! I decided today would be a great day to share an excerpt from my book, Texts from an Angel. Enjoy…

Amy was so depressed. She didn’t want to bother her friends. She knew they were busy. However, after being in bed three days, her guardian angel, Hope, was flustered.

“I hate to bust your angelic wings, but what she needs is a little Joy. No pun intended.” Joy quipped.

“Oh dear heaven!” Hope slapped her wings together in frustration. “Here you are again, in my personal business.”

“You don’t have any personal business. This is all God’s business or did you forget? I keep telling you the Joy of the Lord is where strength comes from.”

“And we also know that ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick.’ That’s why I’m here. So go…” While Hope and Joy are arguing, Amy is holding a bottle of pills. She’s sick of it all.

“Ladies! Ladies!” Love steps in. “Stop it. You’re off focus again. Look.” Amy was pouring a glass of water and had several bottles of pills lined up on the counter. Hope and Joy looked at each other. They knew what to do. Before Amy could reach for the first bottle, a strong wind blew through her kitchen and pills and bottles were flying everywhere!

Conveniently, most of the pills flew down the drain. Amy was so stunned with what was going on around her she didn’t hear her doorbell ringing. Her best friend, Keya, was at the door. After ringing the doorbell for several minutes, Keya decided to use her spare key to get in.

Hearing all the commotion, Kenya rushed to the kitchen. “Amy! What’s the matter? I got your text. Why didn’t you tell me you were so depressed? I’m so sorry I haven’t been here.” Amy was still stunned as she looked at her friend.

“You got a text? I turned my phone off three days ago.” Keya showed her a text message that came from her phone. It read, “I love you, sister, but I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry.”

After a long talk, Keya decided to take Amy home with her until her mother flew into town. Spending time in the nurturing warmth of a mother’s love would help tremendously. She would also seek counseling and formulate a safety plan.

A safety plan is a specific plan you set in place for yourself to ensure your safety whether physical or emotional. The plan usually includes coping mechanism, phone numbers, and maybe personal reminders for you or ways you can distract yourself.  

If you are ever feeling like Amy, please contact either of these numbers:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255
Or text: Crisis Text Line: Text RISE to 741741  

59d592f1-a62a-4ac4-8dd1-35b3fb4e5b62-2839-00000327ee052846

This is an excerpt from my book, Texts from an Angel. You can purchase it at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QC2GD93/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_BKGPCbDK92FJ3

For a paper copy, email me at nicolesharonwrites@gmail.com

img_0776

Stand.

img_1134

When I look at this I see tumultuous peace. How did the sky go from being blue to various shades of oranges and red like an angry fire?

Yet, it’s peaceful. It’s saying to me yes, there battle going on behind the scenes. There’s a war being waged. Turmoil. Strife. Confusion.

There’s also victory happening. Peace conquering over turmoil. Harmony happening I’ve strife. Certainty over confusion.

How can this be? How can you have two opposing things going on simultaneously? In the same life?

And yet, like the tower that’s standing, I stand alone. Only I can fight this war within. Only I can stand against the things that stand against me. Yes, there are people and outside forces that encourage, but I must, within myself, make a decision.

I made the decision to stand. Sometimes shaking. Sometimes trembling in fear. Sometimes ready to quit. But there’s a force within me that won’t let me quit. Won’t let me die. Won’t let me give up.

So.
I.
Stand.

And.
I.
Win.

img_1135
My view of the sky. Georgia. 10/25/18.