Facts and Opinions

How To Stay Young…According to Tracee Ellis Ross

I have been following Tracee Ellis Ross on Instagram for quite a while. In my head, she’s an old friend of mine. I grew up on Girlfriends; watching the reruns while my Mother was asleep laughing at the chaos and lessons that ensued with each episode. I am a Joan Clayton to the tee! With a little bit of Toni (I loved her character too). I admired Joan, a hard working attorney and entrepreneur who knew how to make things happen. I wanted (and still want) to be that…I wanted to be her! Tracee portrayed that character so well, probably because she encompasses a lot of those go-getter and slightly quirky traits (traits that I would like to say I possess as well).

She is the embodiment of the rich auntie that kind of does whatever she wants, and that is a major mood. I have come to the conclusion that this lifestyle will probably be my life; traveling around the world on my own dime, wearing designer clothes, and sending expensive gifts from Paris to my nieces and nephews…a girl can dream. Anyways, people have kind of looked to her for lifestyle advice, even if they didn’t ask her directly. Tracee seems to be living her best life. People (including myself) may ask, well how is she thriving so? What’s her secret? Tracee does exude this youthful energy, what makes her stay so young? Physically and mentally, at 46-years-young, she is as lively and as vibrant as ever! Well, Tracee decided to go into detail and bless us with the information on how she does it, and I think these actions can really improve ones way of life. Let’s dive in!

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5 “grown woman” ways to stay young. by me.

A post shared by Tracee Ellis Ross (@traceeellisross) on

Number 1: Giggle As Much As Possible

Laughter is the best medicine, I can attest to that one. Laughter is a complex response and reaction. It is our physiological reaction to humor according to the popular website How Stuff Works. It all contains a set of gestures and the production of sound. Laughter is created through many regions of the brain like the sensory processing area of the occipital lobe (the back of the brain). If any of these parts are damaged, this can actually disrupt laughter and what one person may deem humorous. The higher function in the left brain hemisphere decode words and syntactical structures in a very analytical way, the right brain hemisphere understands the humor. The center of our brain creates an image of the funny idea or statement in our heads, while our limbic system releases the chemicals that promote a better mood. Laughter releases a substance called endorphins into your blood stream. Endorphins are a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system and having a number of physiological functions. They are peptides which activate the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect. The endorphins go through your veins, traveling through your body and eventually ending up in your brain. This gives you a more relaxed, positive, and happy feeling. Laughing gives your diaphragm a pretty good work out! Not only the diaphragm, but your legs, faces, abdominal muscles and back. According to Organic Facts, stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline can be brought down significantly through laughing. Laughing also increases blood flow and the respiratory system. It also boosts your immune system. Laughing improves your health over all!

Number 2: Get Your Sleep

On average, I think I get about six hours of sleep. I’m trying to get another hour or two in there. Eight hours I think would be a pretty good amount of time to catch some z’s. Human beings are diurnal creatures, meaning we like to function through the day and take the load off at night. Owls, for example, are the opposite. They are nocturnal, they love the night time, but you probably won’t see them out and about during the day. A study by the Boston University School of Medicine states that sleeping less that six hours and more than nine hours increased diabetes risk. They say between seven and eight hours is great! And what about naps? According to the National Association of Sleep (that sounds pretty credible, right?), a twenty to thirty minute nap is recommended. Sleeping and napping helps improve focus and alertness. It can also help enhance performance and reduce mistakes and accidents. Now for some people, naps might be a no go. Some (me….I’m one of them) are left to feel groggy or even more tired after a nap. Sometimes it may also affect later sleep patterns. But if you are tired…GO TO SLEEP…if you can. That’s your body’s way of indicating that you need a rest.

Number 3: Drink Plenty of Water

Please! For the love of God…drink some H2O. I literally drink water 80% of the time. I just bought a twenty six ounce Manna water bottle from Meijer a few days ago, and I carry it all the time and keep it near my bedside. Water keeps your body at a normal temperature. Do you want strong knees like Megan thee Stallion? Well you better start drinking up! Water cushions your joints and lubricates them. Water helps your body protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues. Through perspiration, bowel movements, and urination, waste is removed from your body.

Number 4: Have As Much Sex As Possible

Okay Tracee! I see you girl! Besides the obvious reason why sex is good (or should be), sexual activity does have some health benefits as well. Having sex once or twice a week helps boost the immune system by producing higher levels of immune fighting antibodies. No more illness for you! Sex may protect people from heart disease; balancing estrogen and testosterone hormones. It helps lower blood pressure too. Remember to practice safe sex and consensual sex (not sure what’s considered consensual, check out my blog post on what consent is and what it isn’t. Here’s the link: https://underneaththefro.com/2019/08/18/what-consent-is-and-what-it-isnt/). And let’s not forget about masturbation (is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?). There are a load (I have a dirty mind) of health benefits when it comes to masturbation. The following include:

  • reducing sexual tension
  • reduce stress
  • helps you sleep better
  • improve self esteem and body image
  • relieve menstrual cramps and muscle tension
  • strengthen muscle tone in your pelvic region and anal areas

If you aren’t having sex, you can get the same result from a low cardio workout or a brisk jog. Meditation helps too, as well as taking the proper steps towards boosting self confidence.

Number 5: Love With An Open Heart

You lost me there Tracee. No, I’m kidding, but sometimes when you’ve been hurt so many times, it can be difficult to love with an open heart. I took it more so as loving yourself with an open heart. Truly loving yourself is such a beautiful thing, but it is a journey; a journey that I am still on. There are people that have lived their whole lives hating who they were, and I don’t want to be that way, and you shouldn’t want that either. It is easy to love openly and freely when things are just peachy. But what about when things aren’t looking so good? It’s a lot harder isn’t it? The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but it can also cause a lot of paranoia and create more doubt and fear. Our mind and our heart seem to be on a different page from time to time (or all the time). Keeping an open heart can help heal past pain and transgressions. The heart is so powerful. The heart has the ability to heal hurting wounds. This one might be a little tricky, but it can be done.

Well, that seems simple enough, right? It’s the little things that can help us get through our days just a little easier. Thanks Tracee for the advice!

 

Sources:

10 Impressive Benefits of Laughter

https://stason.org/articles/wellbeing/sleep/how_many_hours_do_you_need_to_sleep.html

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/napping

https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html

https://familydoctor.org/health-benefits-good-sex-life/

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/sex-and-relationships/masturbation

 

 

 

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Facts and Opinions

Am I Next?: How many more will go through what Uyinene went through?

TRIGGER WARNING:

I’ve been logged out of social media for a little bit so I was a little out of the loop on some things that have happened recently. Going through the normal bar bathroom selfies, inspirational quotes, and random rants, one story made me furious. It made me grow angry with each word that I read. I’m tired. I’m tired of seeing stories like this. I’m tired of slowly being desensitized by these stories because they happen so often. I’m tired of being fearful for the people that I know. I’m tired of begging my friends to put their locations on so I can check and make sure they’re where they are supposed to be going. I’m tired of carrying around mace because I don’t know if some lunatic is going to randomly feel enticed to tackle me to the ground and assault me. I had thought of carrying around a taser, but they aren’t legal in Illinois. I do plan to carry a pocket knife with me at some point. I shouldn’t have to do that! No one should have to do that! I should be able to get to my destination safely with no interference. Anyways, I could get stuck on this topic for days, but I’m going to get on to the point of this article.

Uyinene Mrwetyana. Uyinene; a South African name meaning gift of God. Reading about her I got a chance to get a glimpse of her personality. She seemed intelligent, warm, and widely loved. Her skin was so radiant and that smile…her smile was captivating. She was just nineteen years old, making strides and efforts towards living her dream. She attended the University of Cape Town. She was a film student. Who knows, we could’ve seen one of her films on the big screen one day. Well, that won’t happen. We may never get to see her creativity in motion. We may never get to see her artistry. Uyinene Mrwetyana was raped and killed by being hit in the head with a scale by 42 year old Luyanda Botha (allegedly) inside a post office. She went there to get a package, and the man told her to come back later. She was said to be missing August 30th. That’s when he brutally attacked her. I was scrolling through her Instagram and nearly cried. She was beautiful…my God she was so beautiful. The man’s trial is set for November 5th according to The South African. He seemed to have no remorse in regards to what he did. I really hope he rots in prison.

The hashtag #AmINextProtest has been trending. People carry signs through the streets of South Africa pleading with people to stop killing their peers and loved ones. South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, addressed the nation Thursday, admitting that there is an uproar of sexual violence against women. He proposed numerous ideas to try and combat this issue. Will these proposals be enough though? Words are just words…they are nothing without action.

Women in South Africa are at risk for being attacked. According to Al Jazeera, a woman is murdered every three hours. Rape is just as rampant. In a 1994 journal by S. Armstrong, it goes into how rape is the assertion of male power. Under apartheid, rape of white women was the only rape that mattered; they found black women rape to just be apart of the struggle. In the journal, it also states that one out of four women have been sexually assaulted before the age of fourteen. These numbers are on the rise…more and more women are going through this treachery.

Will it be me? Will I be the next one to die? Will a situation like this be my fateful demise? Will it be my best friend’s? My Mother’s? My aunt’s? My future daughter’s? I couldn’t fathom sitting at home waiting for my baby girl to come home…only to have the police approach me, telling me that she’s been bludgeoned and raped to death. So many people are apart of the “sexual assault club” and frankly, I don’t want any new members. I think back to my experience, and I thank the Lord that I am still alive, because I didn’t have to be. I’m starting to lose faith in humanity. I’m thinking that there will never be change. And if there is, things will get a lot worse before it gets better.

Uyinene could’ve been me. It could’ve been anyone. So…who’s next?

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Facts and Opinions

The Real Life Handmaid’s Tale

I was sitting on the edge of my bath tub. I stared down at my knees and glanced up at the clock. Those three minutes seemed like three days. I had just taken a pregnancy test. I was going through the previous events that happened to me. I have told this story many times (if you really want to hear about it, it’s the first post that I’ve ever written on here). My first sexual experience was not consensual. Despite the person not necessarily going deep enough to consider what he did as penetrative, I was freaked out by the whole experience. My period was late, and the first thing that came to my mind was…oh shoot…I’m pregnant. I have since educated myself and now know the ins and outs of sex more so. I now realize that it would have been a tad hard for me to get pregnant. But I was eighteen, a freshman in college, and a complete and utter mess. I had a friend of mine buy a pack of pregnancy tests, and even though I told him that he didn’t need to stay to wait for the results, but he wanted to. He was a huge support system and I owe him the world for that. Three minutes were up. I said a quick prayer, and picked up the test. It came out negative. I was not expecting. When I tell you I had never praised the Lord as hard as I did that day! I ran down the stairs and told my friend the news. A difficult situation went over my head…but what if it hadn’t?

What if I was pregnant? What if this guy had gone deep enough? During the current abortion ban that’s going on, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Georgia’s governor signed something called a “Heartbeat” bill recently. This bill indicates that whenever the doctor is able to detect a heartbeat, an abortion is no longer able to be performed. Women typically don’t know their pregnant until after six weeks after conception. How fair is that? And there are no exemptions….none. Incest, rape, pre-existing conditions…none. According to a few sources, a young girl in Ohio is pregnant at eleven years old. This child…emphasis on child…was taken advantage of, and now because of something that she didn’t ask for, she may have to carry out the pregnancy to term if she stays where she is. How stupid is that? Ohio isn’t the only place that reckons that this ban is a good idea for their people. Alabama, Missouri, Ohio, and Georgia are the states that have passed this legislation to ban abortions. People have babies at the age of eighteen all the time, but having a child during those circumstances would have been a disaster. I had just gone through something quite traumatic. I had just started experiencing a real taste of independence. My college career had just started. Mentally I was not ready to bring a child into this world. I live in a state that is more so liberal leaning, so abortion is still considered a fundamental right.

Imagine if abortions became obsolete. Imagine that any person who was pregnant who didn’t want to be, whether it be health reasons, rape, or just because you slipped up, would be turned away from having an abortion. If they try to get an abortion, they will face serious legal trouble. I really don’t think that legislators are thinking about this logically. Abortion may be banned, but that does not mean that it will never happen again. Ever heard of wire hangers? That method is going to become popular again. Women will resort to going to the black market to buy drugs to induce abortions. Women will be frantically searching natural home method abortions, and wonder why they are still pregnant weeks later. There will be more babies that are put into the foster system. The foster system can be quite corrupt and mentally damaging towards the children that are suffering through it. This means more children going through neglect and abuse. What if the woman who is pregnant is trying to leave domestic violence situation? Women would probably be more likely to stay in those relationships. Not to mention the psychological turmoil it would take on these women. Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts would skyrocket.

This is scary. The fact that women (and especially women of color) aren’t seemingly seen as human beings with minds of their own is surprising only because of where we are at. Women are doctors, lawyers, business owners, whatever…and they’re still seen like all they are good for is staying in the kitchen bare foot and pregnant. This is just pure hatred towards women. Old, white, cisgendered men can not tell me what to do with my body….point blank period.

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Journaling, Uncategorized

Junior Year….

Warning: Slightly triggering, and incredibly long

In the middle of the road a few houses, my Dad hits the breaks with a vengeance, jolting him and everyone else in the car with him forward.

“Now you have to not only be truthful with me, but with yourself.” He had noticed me in his rear view mirror. I was holding my jaw, staring into the pattern of the passenger’s seat silently crying; but these tears were powerful. They came out of nowhere, like when you witness the first kiss at a wedding. They are unexpected, but significant. These tears had meaning. These tears represented fear. They represented embarrassment. They represented past mistakes I wish I hadn’t made. They represented many a struggle. But, I assured him that it was because of my butchered hair cut that I had no idea what to do with. It looked absolutely atrocious. I smoothed out the bandana on my head that would be my constant companion for the months to come and sat back calmly as the car was put back in drive and we headed on our way.

A few days prior I had a great decision to make: venture back to school and face my fears or stay at home and ponder what to do during the Fall semester. I am not going to lie to anyone: college is not easy. At all! Nowhere close to being that way. There’s a lot of stress, and pain, and confusion, and all those other things. Don’t get me started on the weight gain. Dominos was my best friend my second semester my freshman year, and so on. I was “this” close to owning a six pack I kid you not, but I became too reliable on my friend, and I sport a nice pouch instead. Anyways, (I go on tangents regularly) college is interesting to say the least. The things that I expected to happen in college did happen, you know? Making friends? Check. Losing some of them…..check. Parties? Probably more than I should have gone to. Heartbreaks? I don’t want to talk about it. Overall however, besides those setbacks, everything would be pretty okay. I would overcome these challenges and laugh at them as I stare each one in the face. Well, it was like that…up until my second semester my freshman year.

I had recently completed my first semester. My grades were fairly good. I had met new people and I was enjoying myself immensely. From the beginning of the second semester on, my whole life just changed. It wasn’t for the better; it was far from it. Now, I won’t say for the worst either. It just changed. Bare with me. I know things are getting a little lengthy.

It started with a party. I went to one like most college students do. I knew the workload was going to kick my ass later on in the year, one party wouldn’t hurt. I don’t want to get into detail, but I was the victim in a non consensual sexual act. I feel more comfortable saying it that way; sounds less menacing. I don’t like saying victim either, I don’t want to sound like I’m asking for sympathy. I still have trouble with the whole ordeal; processing it and understanding everything. I have forgiven the other person, for I still believe he knew he made a mistake and was remorseful. I’m not saying do this in every case, but it gives me serenity. After this point, I started my downward spiral. I really didn’t know it at the time. I remember coming home and laughing about the situation the night it happened, brushing off the severity. To be quite frank, I still don’t really take it seriously. I hear other people and their stories and how gruesome it may be, and I instantly think of how whiny I sound. But, no one should compare a circumstance; if it hurt you it hurt you. Point. Blank. Period.

I became a mess. I grew this sense of not caring about anything. I cared about nothing. I didn’t care about school. My grades were awful. I didn’t care about people’s perceptions of me. I didn’t care about myself. I just didn’t care. I hated everything about myself. As a child I was this way. I was very self conscious about many things. That was very debilitating, considering that I thought I had cured that part of me. It’s like building a house of cards, only to have a strong gust of wind knock them over as soon as you’re finished. I nitpicked over my body, my skin started to break out more, and my weight started to drop. I would go days without eating, always no more than three. Yes, I had a lot downfalls, but one of them was my morals. When I said I didn’t care, I literally mean I didn’t care. I’m being relatively honest. It’s embarrassing, but I did it so….can’t turn back now! I used to be a person who use to value my virginity. Before I go any further, I just want to state that I think women should do whatever the hell they want to do. Lose your virginity (I like the term sexual debut), keep it, doesn’t matter. Do what you want and always stay safe. I never really had an interest in having sex. I wanted to wait until marriage until I first had sex, or at least with someone that I had been with for a while. I envisioned my first time being romantic; champagne, satin sheets, and rose petals, that type of stuff. Well it was none of that. It was in a dark dorm room. The guy smelled like weed. There was no champagne. I think he had Gatorade though. I slept with more people than I ever thought I would sleep with in my lifetime. It’s not an astronomical number, but it still shocks me. I feel like I was trying to fill some void. I wanted to feel wanted, you know? I felt lost. I felt like being some guys “hit it and quit it” was the only thing I was worth at that time. It was a very dark time. A second “incident” would take place, but it would not involve intercourse, just me fighting the guy off for about seven minutes as he is prying my legs open, trying to get me to have sex with him. Like the first incident, I didn’t take it that seriously, but now I realize it was wrong of him. A third one came about a month or so later. I froze up that was the main thing. He genuinely did not know how uncomfortable I was, so I don’t put any blame on him for that. It was just an unfortunate event. I’ve made many mistakes during this time, and as well as getting hurt, I hurt people too. I would rather get hurt than hurt other people. I just feel guilty. I don’t feel like me anymore.

Fast forward a few months, I’m laying in a hospital with an IV in my arm. I had just attempted suicide, and failed as you can see. I’m not typing this from the grave. I had let a friend go because I thought I was hurting him. He became entangled in my drama, and I don’t want anyone’s pain to be caused by me. Should I have given more of a warning? Probably, but it was the right thing to do. That sent me over the edge. It was like every little thing I had done was wrong. I couldn’t take it. That was a few months ago. All that happened within a year.

I was struggling. Thinking about all of that and coming back to the place where all of that happened frightened me. It brought back all of those memories. It makes me fear what could happen. However, I can’t let that paralyze me. I can’t let fear cripple me. I refuse to let all of those setbacks effect my life and what I want to do with it. Of course I’m not going to just try and begin my healing cold turkey. No I go to therapy. I take time to myself. I don’t rush things. I know that things won’t change over night. I know that it will take a while to fully recover from thing that happened back then, and the things that I did because of them. I have to continue. I will learn many things a long the way. I will have hardships, I will be in pain. Somedays I’ll want to go back to my old ways. But I am going to keep moving forward. I could have told my Dad to turn the car around. We would have unpacked the car, unpacked my belongings, and sat in my bed imagining how this school year would have turned out. By the grace of God go I (I think that’s the scripture). I don’t know what will happen. I hope to be able to finish the rest of the semester, but I also know not to push myself too hard. I’m nervous to see how this year will go, but I have faith. That’s all I have for myself right now. I guess there really wasn’t much of a reason for this. Maybe it was a healing for me. I plan to detail more about what I learn throughout this year. I hope to continue on my journey through self love and acceptance.

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