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Eloyce Mitchell is my friend Carman’s mother. She sent me this powerful image on Facebook and I posted it along with the message that you see below. I knew that I couldn’t possibly tag every woman that I know on Facebook (because I’m bound to forget someone), and I know that not all of them will see the message on my page (because I’m one of many “friends” of theirs on Facebook). So I’m also sharing it here because it’s truly that important to me. Strong women take care of everyone and neglect self.
Heart disease and other ailments are beating the mess out of women because we’re too busy being the nurse, nurturer, supporter, provider, problem-solver, shoulder, ear, cheerleader, and super woman for everyone else—and we don’t invest the time in ourselves. We’re under more stress than ever and our bodies are taking a whooping because on top of the environmental factors that attack our bodies, our stress load is leaving it even more vulnerable.
We’re not using our release valves to take the pressure off of our minds and bodies.
We need to.
Our life depends on it.
Stop hiding behind social media. Stop posting your “glamorous life” when you’re feeling like crap or spiraling out of control. I’m not saying to flood your timelines with posts of misery. What I’m saying is that some of us have taken the phony to the extreme. There’s a huge difference between “fake it until you make it” (which is an aspirational goal-setting approach that has been hijacked) and then there’s pretending like everything is perfect when you’re wallowing in misery.
If you’re depressed you need help. If you need help you need to ask.
Social media can get you caught up and then at that point “you’re straight lying boo” and because you’re constantly in fake-mode everyone around you thinks that you’re doing great and thriving, and we ignore the warning signs that could save you. That’s why we’re hearing more and more these days, “I didn’t know she was in trouble/pain, she seemed so happy…” that’s because no one asks strong women if their okay, we use social media to be the predictor of someone’s life, and to add to this it doesn’t help that strong women have grown accustomed to saying “I’m good. I can handle it” because we just don’t know how to ask for help anymore, or we don’t think there’s anyone who can help, or we don’t know where to go to get the help. So we push through.
That’s not healing that’s denial, all of which adds to the pile of junk that turns into illness and dis-ease. We’re not eating right, sleeping enough and sleeping well, exercising enough, getting quality spiritual uplift, surrounded by enough positive images and people, and then there’s the long list of environmental toxins that attack us daily. We need to take better care of ourselves so that we can live fully, intentionally, and with great spiritual, mental, and physical health.
The Wonder Woman cape is bound to get caught on something and choke you. 
To all of the strong women out there here are the 3 THINGS that I want for each of YOU to do:
1) Comment below and tell me how you’re doing, and be honest. We’re good at lying about this. We need to heal, renew, and restore ourselves.
– If you’re thriving then yell it loud. So I can celebrate with you.
– If you need prayer, then tell me, and you don’t need to go into specifics if you don’t want to.
* You can speak in general terms, like “prayer for strength” or “prayer for clarity” or “prayer for healing” or “prayer for new positive opportunities” or “prayer for patience”.
– If you’re having a bad day or not-so-good one, and you need a good laugh, then tell me. I’m always down to make someone giggle or roar with laugher.
– If you need a hug then let’s meet up and share some good vibes. If we live too far apart to meet up, I will send you a virtual one…heck I might even record myself so you can feel it a little more.
2) Choose a day THIS WEEK and MAKE THE TIME to spend taking care of YOU.
– I don’t care if it’s at the nail salon, a library, spa, at the park, movie theater, a museum, or sitting in the back of your car with pillows and a thermos of tea while reading a book.
– During this time you need to DISCONNECT from everyone and everything. That means EVERYONE and EVERYTHING that would have you investing more time in others than yourself. Pour back into YOU. Recharge for YOU.
CHARITY starts with YOU, just like you must put on your oxygen mask FIRST before you place one on others. If you’re not well then you can’t possibly take care of others.
Your strength doesn’t matter if you’re no longer around to be strong for others. Too many of us are passing away too soon because we wear ourselves out so much that our bodies just give up from fighting us so much.
3) Share this with other strong women so that they too can take a moment to breathe, embrace this message and our need for self-care, and then make the time for some self-love.
We ALL must do better and live better. If you still can’t seem to do it for yourself then do it for your loved ones. You can’t be around as long as you would like if you’re not taking better care of yourself.
I love you all.
Copyright 2018. Natasha L. Foreman/Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.

Happy Veteran’s Day to all who have served. Your sacrifice does not go unnoticed. You protected us from others and from ourselves. You don’t know us but you swore to fight for our freedom and protection of our human and constitutional rights. I thank you. 

I come from a military family, both my maternal and paternal sides. My paternal grandfather (and his three brothers) all served. I have uncles who have served. I have cousins who served and some who continue to serve. I have friends who served and some who continue to serve. 

My loved ones proudly and courageously served our country and I strive to always honor them and others who have and still are serving. 

Since I was a small child I’ve always had great respect for the foot soldiers who make it possible for us to sleep throughout the night with limited fear of foreign attack.  I’ve also (since childhood) passionately spoken out against the decisions that leaders have made that directly impact those same soldiers. As I grew older I began to take notice of the infrastructure that was set in place to support troops but has weakened through one administration after the next. It was in trouble in the 1980s and now…well now it needs a lifeline. It’s a huge problem that no one quite knows how to wrap their hands around, because sadly it would seem as though those placed in charge of this huge feat don’t have the management and leadership skills to wrangle it and put things in their proper order. So the pile gets pushed on year after year, administration after administration—one big bureaucratic landfill. 

I pray that our country does a better job at supporting active, inactive, and retired military personnel with:

  • mental and physical healthcare needs,
  • job and career training and placement, and tax credits (and other incentives) to companies who hire veterans, 
  • housing needs, 
  • financial education and planning services, and 
  • healthy transitioning to civilian life. 

 Don’t Forget The Human                            It’s not good enough to just say “thank you” during holidays, political speeches, debates, and when you want to prove patriotism. These men and women risk their lives, sacrifice being with their family, and put everything on the line to follow orders that could potentially lead to their death, dismemberment, or loss of vision, hearing, speech, or mental capabilities. They know that one decision could risk everything. 

They are human beings with dreams, fears, concerns, needs and wants just like you. They are not robots. They bleed and die just like you. 

Don’t turn them into figureheads. Don’t let them just be good marketing figures. Don’t pimp them out to reinforce your agendas. If you truly support the troops then force the positive change that is needed to truly support them. 

As much propaganda and grandstanding that has taken place over the years (and especially the last two months)—using the service of our great men and women to serve a twisted agenda, we should expect to see people put their money where their mouths are, and invest heavily in our troops—and not just more military spending focused primarily on weapons and technology, but a huge budget that is consciously focused on the person while they actively serve and after—for as long as they live. 

Stop Brushing Aside PTSD                                                                Stop pretending that PTSD is not real or is too rare to be significant. It is real, it is huge, we have troops in the field and returning home right now who silently suffer from it, and we can do something about it. 

PTSD is more common than what is being shared and just as we ignorantly raise boys to not cry because it’s “a sign of weakness” and something that “only girls do”, we program men to not seek counseling and help because “it’s a sign of weakness”. Then when their trauma is left untreated and something awful happens we say “it’s clearly a mental health issue”. Yes, an issue that this person could have received treatment and support for if they had the resources and internal and external support to get the help that they need. 

You can’t deny PTSD if you witness bombings, shootings, human limbs strewn on the ground, the smells and sight of death and destruction. No one is ever prepared for this level of trauma. No amount of training can trick the mind to translate these images, sounds, and smells into “normal”. Yet we transition our troops back home with little time to adjust, sometimes only one month on a military base, before they have to engage in civilian life with sights and sounds that may actually trigger traumatic memories. 

June 27th is PTSD Awareness Day. Most people don’t know this. But sadly it’s only one day. We can and must do better for our troops and veterans. 

We should expect to see major overhaul of Veteran’s Affairs and VA hospitals across the country. They are under-funded, under-staffed, and lack the support and proper management that they need to fully provide the services that they are supposed to provide. 

We should expect to see the suffocating bureaucratic red tape cut down so that veterans have immediate access to the resources that they need to not only survive but thrive when they are no longer in active service. It never makes sense to see a homeless veteran. They deserve the best mental and physical healthcare and other resources. 

Our troops should have better benefits than our elected and appointed officials

Let’s keep it real shall we? What are elected and appointed officials sacrificing? Let’s especially look at those who have the luxury of no term limits, cushy desk jobs, photo ops and press conferences, access to private jets, exceptional healthcare, and guaranteed salary? 

Don’t you think and believe that our troops deserve better resources and greater access to those resources than the people we elect (or who are appointed) to office?

Do your part to truly support our troops

It’s more than waving a flag and having a BBQ. It’s more than wearing the flag as a bandana, bikini, shorts, hair accessory, tie, or towel—which by the way are violations of the flag code. 

Here are some ways to honor and support those who serve and the veterans who have served:

  • Bug the mess out of your local, state, and federal officials to get off of their lazy, entitled butts and bring the reform that our country needs to support active, inactive, and veteran personnel. 
  • Do your part by volunteering at clinics, nonprofits, and agencies that provide service to our troops. 
  • Do your part by donating to reputable nonprofits that service veterans. 
  • Do your part by offering jobs and careers to veterans. Revise your businesss and marketing plans to consciously make them part of your target market of job candidates. 
  • Do your part by having special year-round programs for veterans provided through or sponsored by your organization. 

The pomp and ceremony is great, it’s nostalgic, it’s unifying. It’s also temporary. One day or one weekend of free meals or services is great. What about the other days and weekends of the year? We have to give beyond two to three federally-recognized  holidays. 

Have you ever recognized the military’s holiday and special observance calendar? Did you know that they have one? Let me help you out:

Now consider some other ways that you, your family, your neighborhood, your workplace, religious institution, and school can truly support the men and women who sacrifice more than all of us, and have little to show for it. 

Happy Veterans Day!