My Journey To Health Part 2

Many people often ask me about what I do to stay healthy post surgery, post health scare. Well, here is a glimpse of the time when I attempted to do a mud run…with my mother. Just a few of my crazy antics on my journey to health. Check out Part 1. And here is Part 2:

On the other side of the woods we run into three big lakes. No problem! We can swim. We just walked through the first one. The second one had ropes on each side. As we continued to walk, we realize the lake was 6 feet deep! Wait, what? That explains why I can’t feel the ground. This part was not in the informational video. We quickly swim through with the help of the rope.

“I think I quit,” mom said.

“Quit what?” I replied.

“My body is not cut out for the mud run.”

I guess this is the coaching part, but my competitive spirit took over. Maybe it was the thought that she dragged me to the gym almost every day to train or that she even talked me into doing this race in the first place. Plus the $60 entrance fee. Besides, I think I just swallowed a gallon of muddy water.

“The hell we ain’t,” I said. “We’re not quitters.” “You’re going to finish this race.”

It looks like  she got more than what she bargained for, because from the expression on her face she didn’t know which was worse, her daughter yelling in front of more than a 1,000 people or the fact that I just talked to her like she was some girl out in the street. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

I could tell she took what I said into serious consideration, because she swam through the other lake with no problem. The only thing I heard her say was, “Use the rope and keep your chin up.” She was done after that. But the hills were next. We climbed about 5 hills before we reached the water slide. We both looked down from the top of the hill as more people slid down.

“This is supposed to be the fun part, right?” I asked.

“It looks like fun,” mom responded. “Come on Jen, we can do it.”

Since when did she get all optimistic, I thought. Just five hills ago she wanted to quit, and we haven’t even hit the first mile marker. That transference of emotions/energy thing is real. I just gave her everything I had and she gladly took it. Mom slides down first and from what I can tell the water is not that deep. I decided to slide right after. For a split second I forgot I had on contacts. As I came down the slide, my head goes all the way in the water. Not again, I thought. But then I realized this water screams infection! I’m borderline OCD. I don’t like dirt. Then my eyes started to burn. Oh no, chlorine!! Mom could see the panic on my face. She said, “Whatever you do, don’t put your hands in your eyes.”

“There is a water station just up ahead,” a runner said. Praise Jesus.

We finally approach mile marker one, then two. Mom is still power walking as more people run past us. “Are you ever going to run?” I asked. “You did not convince me to run 3 miles every other day to just walk.” Mom never responds. Instead she walks just a little bit slower and a few more people dash in front of us. I noticed everyone’s numbers. We’re team 408. There are more runners with team numbers in the 700’s. Our wave is far ahead of us. As for the rest of our teammates, they were ahead of us in the beginning. I decide to take a stand. My competitive spirit comes back. Maybe it’s in the air.

“We’re not going to finish last.” I said. “I don’t care what we have to do, but we are not going to finish last.” Mom forgot there were timing chips in our numbers.

We finally get to an opened field when I see water. Not just a drop of water, but a lot of it. This water is not a mirage, I told myself. And you know what? I don’t care if the water is a mirage. I’m dirty, sweaty, and hot. I need some relief. But I would be concerned if I ran towards it and I would slip and fall into a pile of mud if it was a mirage. That’s all I need at this point. But it’s not a mirage. The fire department thought it would be a good idea to hose us down in the middle of the race. They are pointing water hoses towards us. Not one, but three.

“Look, Mom!” I said. “There’s water!” She never responded. I think she zoned herself out, thinking of better days. We haul our butts as fast as we could through the water. As soon as we finished running, she screamed “My ankle!” At this point, I’m not hearing it. One part of me is probably in denial that she actually sprained her ankle and the other part of me is thinking we’re in the middle of nowhere. Who is going to come and rescue us? I don’t have my phone. On the other hand, this was her plan the whole time. Fake an injury and get out while she can. Not on my watch.

Part 3, next week.

My Journey to Health Part 1

This describes my journey to health. It has not always been easy, but the sun is always shining. Courtesy of BredeHighWoods.blogspot.com.
This picture describes my journey to health. It has not always been easy, but the sun is always shining. Courtesy of BredeHighWoods.blogspot.com.

“What number is our wave?” I asked as we made our way to the starting line. I’m nervous about this race and I haven’t been feeling well since I came down with a bad case of allergies. We’re in the middle of nowhere for the third annual JCB Mud Run. Their signs and dump trucks are everywhere. Wait, why do they need dump trucks? I look around and see more muddy hills than I cared to see and a foam pit, which actually looks like fun. But it’s the summer in South Georgia. I don’t know if I can take this heat.

I asked myself, “Why did I agree to do this?” Oh wait, because mom convinced me, and it’s not like you can say no to your mother. Or at least I can’t. Here’s the back story: Almost a year ago, mom joined a lean challenge at work. She and the “team” thought it would be a good idea to start training for races. Soon after, she started telling people I somehow helped her become a healthier person. Hence, the reason I’m at the starting line too. Since I’m in better shape, I’m supposed to be a coach of some sort, to help her through the obstacles. I would be considered a hater if I didn’t agree to participate in this race, and I would probably feel bad about it. It would also give my family free rein to talk about me until the day Jesus comes back. My guilty conscience wouldn’t let me sit on the sidelines.

Her teammates were happy we made this a mother-daughter event. Truthfully, I’d rather attend Zumba and have a smoothie afterwards. Picture this; a bunch of overzealous adults in their late 40’s and early 50’s, and then there’s me – the millennial. The optimistic side of me was excited to conquer something new. Besides, it’s not everyday that you get to play in the mud.

Our wave is next. The hosts count backwards from ten and we’re off. Everyone including mom takes off running. We were going at a steady pace…at first. As I looked back, we realize we were the last team in our wave. Note to self: Never look back. We get to our first mud pit. I tried to take my time and tip my way in. That strategy didn’t work. I trip and go in feet first. As I make my way out, my mother dives in. I try to pull myself out and immediately I slip back in.

We finally climb out of the pit together. I start to run towards the woods. Wait…why we are running towards the woods!?!?!? I guess today I’m going to have to be one with nature. As I looked towards my left and my right I noticed mom wasn’t beside me. She fell behind. Don’t look back, I told myself. She’ll catch up. But no, I don’t listen to my own advice. I decide to wait for her. But she’s not running, she’s walking. I mean power walking; you know, to keep her heart rate up. While she catches up with me, a group of about 100 more people come running into the pit. We get some motivation to run as fast as we could in the woods, but most of them ran past us. #Fail.

“Why did it take us so long to get to the woods,” I asked. I never got an answer. My mom was already out of breath. This can’t be good.

Part 2 tomorrow.

The Second Time Around: Think Like A Man Too

 

Think Like A Man Too
Courtesy of IMBD.com

***Spoiler Alert!!!***Spoiler Alert!!!***Spoiler Alert!!!***Spoiler Alert!!!***Spoiler Alert!!!***Spoiler Alert!!!***Spoiler Alert!!!***

I love it when a sequel is done right! With the TV promos, radio interviews and press junkets in heavy rotation, it wasn’t a surprise when I rushed out of the office early and went straight to the movies to buy advance tickets of Think Like A Man Too. The promotion for this movie was on point. I even splurged on a later showing for my mother and I. She’s a fan of the movie too.

When the first movie, Think Like A Man was released back in 2012, the concept was centered on Steve Harvey’s New York Times Bestseller, Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. So when the sequel was released today, I thought maybe Harvey’s second book would be the concept, but as I began to see previews for the movie, I walked in the theater with no expectations.

What I received was even better. The winning combination of director Tim Story and power producer Will Packer does not disappoint. There was no complex storyline. The movie was just simply funny.

Everything picked up where it left off as the cast reprised their roles like no time has passed. The whole cast is back for part two of an incredible ride of laughter and fun even leaving room for some new faces. The chemistry comes alive once again, which only makes perfect sense why the sequel would take place in Sin City.

The plot of the movie is reminiscent of a cross between The Hangover and The Best Man, except no one is keeping a deep dark secret and everyone remembers what happened the night before. But one aspect does hold true. Michael (Terrence Jenkins) and Candace (Regina Hall) are getting married, so we all know what that means – the gang is back together again! While the excessive alcohol, naked strippers, and the inevitable drama of the bachelor and bachelorette parties prove to be run-of-the-mill, it also provided a bit of nostalgia. For me, I wondered what my bachelorette party would be in 5 or 10 years.

The men and women were easily divided as one group tried to out do the other. Which group can throw the most epic party? The character’s personalities shine through even when their roles were clearly defined in the first movie. There was the over-zealous friend much like Cedric (Kevin Hart). He overspent on hotel accommodations (See, the way my bank account is set up…) to ensure his friends had the best time. There were memorable scenes, like the girls accidentally getting high when Kristen (Gabrielle Union) gives all her girls pot breath strips given by her now husband Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara). We also get to finally meet Tish (Wendi McClendon –Covey) who is Bennett’s (Gary Owen) wife transform into a bombshell when the girls perform Bel Biv DeVoe’s hit Poison. All of these moments are components for a true instant comedy.

After seeing this movie, I completely understand why Hart wants to get rid of the term ‘black movies.’ There was nothing racially themed about this movie. It would be a shame if it were clumped into the same theory when more than three African-Americans are the main characters in a film. In the words of what Hart said to the concierge: “I don’t mean to be rude, but you can keep that sh**t!”

Think Like A Man Too has one central theme in which everyone can relate – the ability to move forward. We see that when Michael and Candace finally stands up to his overbearing mother, when Maya (Megan Good) forces Zeke (Romany Malco) to let go of his past, and finally when Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) and Dominic (Michael Ealy) make sacrifices in their careers for the sake of their relationship. Cameos from Drake, George Wallace, Coco, and Wendy Williams only adds to the repertoire of an excellent plot, great cast and awesome scenes. Plus, many more surprises along the way.

Think Like A Man Too is no-holds barred, in your face romantic comedy that will be talked about for many summers to come. As soon as the ending credits were over, my mom looked at me and said, “Excellent.” I agree. She’s a harsh critic too.

What do think? Have you seen the movie? If not, Think Like A Man Too is theaters now.

Mimi Faust Is Not A Reflection Of Me

THE WONDERFUL        WORLD OF REALITY...

I promised myself I would not address the whole Mimi Faust sex tape scandal, but since we’re still talking about it…here goes.

In no way shape or form is Mimi Faust a reflection of me. For those who don’t know, Love and Hip Hop star Mimi Faust made a sex tape or porn video (that subject is debatable) with boyfriend Nikko Smith. In anticipation for the upcoming season of Love and Hip Hop the sex tape was highlighted in the new trailer. Then the video was leaked and Mimi received the largest backlash I’d ever seen. We subsequently rolled our eyes and  expressed our confusion on why she would do such a thing. Even Steve Harvey inserted his two cents in an open letter to Mimi.

Last week, commentators on The Grio’s show Politini addressed this same issue stating, “Seriously, what’s up with the outrage?” “Why are people shocked that ratchet reality stars would make a sex tape?” “Obviously they are in the game to get paid and to extend their 15 minutes of fame, so why are folks acting like our hopes and our dreams and the fate of black womanhood are tethered to this?”

I could not agree more with this statement. The fact that we have to compare ourselves with a reality star is confusing. This whole faux scandal is really a non-issue to me. I’m not mad. In fact, I don’t have any emotions tied to Mimi and her decision to market herself as a porn star. That’s on her.

Image is everything in our culture. If something surfaces that we consider less than, the world shakes and comes to an end, because we feel like there are no positive images of black women in the media. It’s something we fight for more often than we have to. And it’s hard seeing the images of Mimi and Nikko on television and on the Internet. I get it. But we’ve struggled with imagery long before Mimi Faust ever became popular.

Why give the whole sex tape scandal any attention at all? Let’s face it. We are the reason her image gets played like a broken record. Our society craves for more sex and more drama hence our love/hate relationship with reality shows. When images like Mimi’s pop up on our news feeds or timelines, we say we’re not monolithic, but do we really believe it? If that’s the case, let’s stop tweeting about it, let’s stop emulating the infamous shower rod scene and reshift our focus to something else worth talking about (like People Magazine naming Lupita Nyong’o ‘Most Beautiful Person’). We have different perspectives, and most importantly, we don’t have the same morals or values.

Mimi’s decision to do a sex tape does not weigh heavy on me. If you follow the show and all of its antics, someone was bound to come out with a sex tape. I’m surprised it took this long and I’m even more surprised at this whole PR campaign to promote it. At the end of the day, when we give negative actions attention, its people like Mimi who gets paid. Not us. So why does it affect us so much if she’s not a true representation?

What do you think? Click on the post and comment below!

What It Means To Be Candid

My cousin and I recently started to have weekly Skype sessions to catch up and to study the Bible. During our first session, I was nervous. I tried to make light of the situation and made some jokes. She instantly saw right through me as we were speaking about how a certain scripture – I can’t remember which one – applied to our lives at that particular time. She replied, “Now Jennifer, let’s be real.”

In a 2011 article entitled The Value of Being Candid, writer Dan Moran explains how candor is a means for effective communication. He describes this notion by giving advice on how to be candid with other people, especially in the workplace.

I wanted to go a step further and decided to be candid with myself. I wanted to be honest with my own experiences and circumstances, so I could help someone else on their journey. To express myself without limits ultimately confronting my own issues and becoming a better person in the process.

On the other hand, one might argue when you’re too candid about your life experiences, you’re more susceptible to judgment. You open the door to the positive, but also to the negative. We sometimes shy away from expressing the truth about ourselves. We have a tendency to hide behind photo filters and 160 characters or less to put forth a carefully manufactured version of who we are. As a result, people only get to see one side, and that’s unfortunate.

As time passed, I thought about that initial meeting. What good would I have done if I decided to hide behind my jokes and not express my true self? Since that conversation my cousin let me know I helped her by simply being honest about my thoughts and perspective. At the end of the day, isn’t that our goal? We all want fulfillment in our lives and know we’re not alone.

My purpose for this blog is to use my perspective, truths and experiences to help others on their journey by first being candid about who I am. I want to write about issues we don’t want to address, to be able to relate to people more and develop a level of understanding of the world around me. Real change can occur when true candor is expressed.

Welcome to Candid Commentary.