69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

The other day, beautiful and hilarious actress Leslie Jones decided to have a transparent moment during her work out, which caused everyone to react like she was darn near suicidal. She posted a picture, and the caption for Twitter read:

“Ok back to cardio. But confession.. I feel like I’m doing it for nothing. I know it not [sic] I’m healthy and look good but I really feel like ‘what’s it all for’ if the people you want to notice don’t. I just feel like I might die alone. Sorry that’s pretty heavy today!!”

People immediately began scrambling to send her all types of messages, which were extremely uplifting! However, most of the messages revealed that a lot of people didn’t seem to get the idea Leslie was trying to get across. She wasn’t declaring low self esteem. She wasn’t declaring unhappiness with life or her looks. She simply was having a moment, like many of us tend to have at times.

Every day isn’t going to be a great day, and every moment of our day isn’t going to be positive and filled with perfect thoughts. Sometimes we have those moments where we feel down, or like the hard work we are putting in goes unnoticed sometimes. Sometimes we have moments as single women or men where we want to feel more appreciated than we are. This doesn’t make anyone desperate, lonely, or void of self esteem. It simply makes us human.

Leslie Jones doesn’t hate herself, or hate how she looks. You can take one look at her and see that she’s full of life and light. You can see the confidence she exudes. That moment of transparency was just that…..a moment. Feeling crappy will happen sometimes, and that’s okay. We all need a moment at times to vent our frustrations and be honest with ourselves, instead of trying to always make it seem like everything is okay. As long as you don’t dwell in those moments, or let those feelings overpower how good you do feel about yourself the rest of the time, it’s okay to be vulnerable sometimes.

Surely you’ve had a day or two where you felt like “what’s the point in this?”, and had to check yourself later. Being single, you may have had days where you were frustrated with the single status or dating scene, and ready for something worthwhile to come along. Leslie Jones is no different. We all have our days or moments where things don’t seem to be working out like we want them to.

Leslie Jones is going to be okay, I promise. She has many things to smile about and be grateful for without stressing all day every day over guys not liking her at this moment. The same way she bounced back from her moment, is the same way you should bounce back from your own days of feeling not sure of yourself. This isn’t just a celebrity thing.  We all feel unnoticed or unappreciated at times.

Leslie Jones lives in each of us. There will be amazing days, and then there will be low moments. The beauty of it all is that we get to choose where we remain. Pity parties are okay sometimes, as long as we don’t make the small party a lifestyle or habit. Those low moments are okay, as long as we don’t dwell there. I have a feeling Leslie Jones won’t dwell there long!


*If you haven’t gotten the chance, please check out my latest books, “Stop Saying Yes to Mr. No Good” and “Dear Brown Girl: Letters of life & love”, available at www.Ikarliworld.bigcartel.com , Amazon, and also on Barnes & Noble !*

  Domestic abuse seems to be on the rise in these times, both reported and unreported. The reality is that it can happen to anyone. Often people overlook domestic violence and abuse for many different reasons, ranging from it not being any of their business to not truly realizing the signs that abuse is taking place. Not only does the abuse tend to get overlooked; the victims of abuse also tend to deny that it is going on, justify the actions, and dismiss it. With the rising incidents of reported and unreported domestic abuse, it is important to break down many of the misconceptions surrounding the topic.
Domestic violence is not just physical

  If you were to ask the first 100 people you encounter what domestic abuse is,the first thing they most likely will say is that it is assaulting someone, or beating someone up. People automatically assume that domestic abuse is merely physical. The truth is that domestic abuse can come in many different forms outside of physical assault. 

  Assault is just one of the more common forms that tends to be reported or publicized in the media. I break down many of the different types of domestic abuse down in my book “Stop Saying Yes to Mr. No Good”, a self help guide that assists individuals with identifying signs of toxic men and effectively breaking the cycle of engaging in unhealthy relationships. 
  Different forms of abuse (outside of assault) can include mental, sexual, financial, and verbal. One of the most common forms of abuse is control. A controlling partner can go undetected in early stages, because often their jealous mannerisms and need to be involved in their partner’s every move is something that some people find cute in the beginning. There are many people who equate jealousy and controlling ways with greater interest or love, and they don’t realize those traits can spiral into something much worse until the more severe case actually arrives. 
  Sexual abuse in relationships is another form of domestic abuse that doesn’t get talked about as much. It may seem hard to believe, but there are people that get raped by their partners/spouses. This goes unreported often because the victims usually don’t understand that this is classified as abuse, and often they’re too embarrassed to report it.
  Financial abuse is another form of control and abuse in relationships. A partner may try to control your whereabouts and your day to day decisions by restricting the household money, or just your money in general. Other examples of this abuse is holding financial issues over your head to manipulate you to do things your partner demands, constantly stealing money ,or demanding money from you in exchange for affection,attention, and/or respect.
Domestic abuse does not only come from alcoholics or drug abusers
  Another misconception is that abuse only happens in homes where a partner struggles with drinking or drug problems. While it may be true that many of the incidents reported involve those issues, the truth is that not every alcoholic or drug user is abusive, and not every sober individual has an abuse-free background. 

Other factors that contribute to domestic abuse are sometimes situational, while other abusers grew up seeing family members abuse their own partners, giving the impression that abuse equals love. Some abusers just don’t possess the coping mechanisms to control their anger. These things don’t make abuse okay, but understanding reasoning behind an abuser’s actions is one of the steps professsionals take in helping to change the behavior.
Domestic abuse is not just a man’s thing
Another big misconception is that only males tend to be abusers. While female abusers aren’t reported or incarcerated as much, there are many cases of both reported and unreported violence involving female aggressors.
 More and more we are seeing videos and hearing stories of women that are using weapons against their partners, gathering with other women to fight, and just being abusive on an ongoing basis. Many of us may personally know women that engage in abusive behavior often, but it is never reported. This is not just because people tend to turn their heads and mind their own business. It also goes unreported due to men feeling that law enforcement may not take them being a victim seriously, or they may be too embarrassed to admit they were hurt by a woman. 

Domestic abuse also includes women that sexually assault their partners, both in heterosexual and lesbian relationships/marriages.Domestic abuse can also involve children abusing other children in the household, or children abusing their parents. 
Domestic abuse victims only stay out of fear
While it may seem that victims of abuse tend to remain in dangerous, unhealthy relationships out of fear that things will worsen if they leave, there are some victims that stay because they are blinded by the love they have for the abuser. This is where dismissing and justifying abuse comes into play, because some abusers often feel that their abuser is doing those hurtful things because they love and want the best for them, or that this is just how love works. You also have abusers that blame themselves and feel that things would change or the abuse would stop if they would improve their behavior. 
Domestic abuse victims have noticeable injuries
Movies and abuse survivor stories you may come across would have you thinking that every person that is being abused is walking around with black eyes, broken limbs, and visible injury. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Abuse is not just physical, but even when it is, injuries are not always obvious. Everyone that has been assaulted is not black and blue, and some may not even have a scratch on them.
 This can be for many reasons. The victim may be skilled at disguising injuries, or may just distance themselves until the injuries heal. The abuser may be hitting the victim deliberately in a way that marks won’t show up, and the abuse won’t be detected. Sometimes there just aren’t any marks at all, but it doesn’t remove the pain or danger for that victim. Don’t get caught up in assuming that someone you know is not in a dangerous situation just because you don’t see any injuries that reflect that. 
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Abuse is never okay, and it can easily end your life if you don’t work to remove yourself from the person that is hurting you. Don’t wait until things turn physically life threatening to get out. Here are a few tips from my book “Stop Saying Yes to Mr. No Good” to help you, or others you may know, leave an unhealthy, abusive relationship.

Don’t be afraid to contact domestic abuse hotlines in your city and state. There are nationwide hotline phone numbers, as well as city/state specific ones online that will allow you to report incidents you are aware of, as well of possible abuse that needs investigation. This includes also reaching out to your local police departments, especially when a domestic disturbance is being heard or witnessed. It’s better to try and restore peace before things escalate instead of once they’re already out of control. Don’t just ignore what you feel doesn’t involve you. 
Have a strong support team in place that understands what is going on, and are willing to help you remove yourself from the abusive relationship in any way that they can. This team will be significant before, during , and after you leave the situation. These will be the ones keeping you encouraged, helping to keep you safe, and being supportive to you in a non judgmental way while you try to heal from the relationship.
Have a plan. A plan is extremely important when leaving an abuser, so that you won’t end up feeling forced to remain in your current situation. Planning includes where you will go, saving enough money to be able to take care of yourself during this transition, available resources and possible shelters to seek assistance from, and a plan to ensure your children (if children are involved) are able to still attend school and carry on with their normal routine as best as possible. So many victims remain in abusive relationships because they don’t have a plan to get out, which can make you feel completely hopeless.
Don’t return to the abuser, no matter what they promise, say, or do. No matter if they decide to shower you with gifts or guilt, do not return once you have left that abusive relationship. While not every abusive person remains that way forever, it is never something to take a chance on. Don’t ever gamble with your life like that, because next time could be worse.

 Unfortunately, many victims have lost their lives due to thinking that things were okay to return to an abuser. They thought things would change, or that it was something they could deal with, since they’ve survived it all up until this point. Don’t make that deadly mistake. 
To read more on toxic relationships and how to break the cycle of remaining in them, be sure to grab a copy of Karlicia Lewis’ book “Stop Saying Yes to Mr. No Good”, available on Amazon and in select national bookstores. 

  • lane-bryant
       Learning to love my body, flaws and all, didn’t come easily. Growing up I was teased about being bigger than others at school. I was ridiculed and often passed over by boys due to having dark skin and extra weight on me. I was often overlooked while boys focused on other girls. I can definitely agree with those that say it is very difficult in adolescent years to have a positive outlook on your body, when it seems like everyone else finds every reason to criticize you.
       I heard criticism and “jokes” about my size so much growing up that it just became easier over time to joke about myself first. The way I saw it, beating everyone to the punch with jokes about myself seemed to soften the blow for me. My family even grew comfortable calling me “big girl” and teasing me about my weight during my teenage years, because they had no idea my peers were doing the same in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. It caused me to not feel good about myself. I dressed in over sized clothing, and tried my best to fly under the radar outside of playing sports. The less I was seen , I was less likely to be a target for how I looked.
       Back then, I was doing things terribly wrong. I was letting other people’s opinions
    of me dictate what I felt about myself. This is something so many people do, even well into adulthood. Society plays a large part in that, always finding ways to somewhat exclude others that don’t necessarily fit the most popular beauty standards, and although we’ve come a long way we still have a lot more work left to do. There are still a lot of people out there that refuse to accept that beauty comes in all different shapes, sizes, and skin tones. This is the reason body positivity is so significant these days, as well as the reason body positivity is often misunderstood and/or criticized.
    Breaking down body positivity
       With such a large divide on the views regarding body positivity, it’s important to
    seperate what body positivity truly is as opposed to the misconceptions surrounding it. So what is body positivity? To keep it super simple, it’s basically having a positive mindset regarding your physical appearance. It’s acceptance and affirming of your body, your temple and physical shell. It’s feeling comfortable and saying/thinking nice things about the body you see when you look in the mirror.
    What others often think
      Body shamers usually assume that body positivity is something only women of the
    plus size community participate in. Many of them don’t even believe that body positivity is a “real thing”. The truth is that a person of any size can practice body positivity, and incorporate feeling good about their bodies into their lives as they see fit. It’s actually something that everyone should participate in.Whether you’re the fittest person or not, you still deserve to think positive thoughts and have a positive self concept. Body positivity isn’t some exclusive club only plus sized women can be a member of.
    The assumption of perfection
      People critical of the plus sized community tend to have this idea that a person
    cannot truly love themself and experience body positivity as a plus sized woman. It
    doesn’t seem possible for them. They are bothered by the thought that those who may be overweight can possibly feel good about themselves, especially when they still have extra weight they’re hanging onto. This thought process is highly influenced by society’s beauty standards relaying the message that the slimmer your body is, the more attractive you are. Because of this, a lot of people view the rise in body positivity a joke.
      Body positivity isn’t perfection, and perfection isn’t something we should expect
    from anyone anyway.It shouldn’t be expected of anyone walking this earth. We all fall short of perfect, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t love ourselves, be encouraged, and think positively about ourselves anyway. You don’t have to be a finished product in order to love on yourself. We are all works in progress in some kind of way, and you should know that you are just as valuable along your journey as you are once you get to your desired destination.
    The movement of pretenders?
      One of the most common misconceptions surrounding body positivity and
    acceptance is that people only engage in it because it’s gaining popularity, but not
    because they really are okay with their size. A lot of people feel that it’s just a stepping stone to pacify plus sized women until they lose the weight to get to the much smaller size they’ve wanted to be all along. This assumption is usually because of seeing plus sized women proudly proclaiming that they love the skin they’re in, and singing the praises of other curvier women, only to later lose significant amounts of weight, a loss that results in a drastic change in appearance.
    Examples of this type of weight loss are:
    singer Jennifer Hudson, actress/comedian Monique, Star Jones, and even model Ashley Graham, who has been getting a lot of criticism lately for what fans believe is her attempt to get skinnier and cross over from plus size modeling into mainstream.
      Body positivity is feeling good about the skin you’re in no matter what changes are
    made.It doesn’t mean you won’t have crappy days where you feel like nothing fits well. It doesn’t mean that you have to feel like the current size and look you have is the end all be all. It’s practicing self kindness, and a way to uplift yourself no matter what part of the journey you’re on. Body positivity is learning and/or knowing what works for you, and also understanding that maintaining healthy practices is just as important along the journey. It doesn’t mean that you have to stay the same weight in order to please anyone that may look up to or admire your confidence. Body positivity doesn’t require anyone’s approval but your own.
      If you feel that you need to lose weight to be healthier or remain healthy, then do just that. The only person that has to walk in your shoes is you.If you don’t like something about yourself, you are always free to change it if that’s what will make you comfortable. Body positivity isn’t something that is meant to keep you from evolving. It’s to help you progress as you desire. It’s loving and accepting yourself at any size, but also loving yourself through any body transformations you choose.
      You’ll mess up every time trying to keep everyone else in the world pleased. You
    have to love yourself for yourself. You have to like what you see in the mirror instead of relying on anyone else to validate you. Trying to keep up with what’s popular can be very difficult, because the public opinion changes quickly and often.
    Loving the skin you’re in is much more reliable. How you feel about yourself sets the foundation for what treatment you allow from others. Loving and uplifting that person you see in the mirror is much more important than trying to keep up with society’s beauty standards. Body positivity isn’t the easiest mindset to achieve, so hold onto it once you do get comfortable, and don’t allow anyone to make you feel bad or unworthy of it.

  2018 is here, and body acceptance has taken over in a great way! Women all over are beginning to embrace the skin they’re in, and loving themselves no matter what size or body type they have. It’s truly a beautiful thing, and the fashion industry has begun to take notice.More than ever designers are beginning to branch out and cater to women in extended sizes, and runways have been spiced up with beautiful women that represent realistic sizing of women worldwide.
Here are a few tips to help you rock your wardrobe while
loving the skin you’re in.
1. Don’t be afraid to go bold.
   In the past, we as plus size women were expected to wear clothing that didn’t draw major attention to ourselves. I can remember reading tips that suggested plus size women should only wear dark colors, especially encouraging black because it was slimming to the eye. Those days are long gone, and it’s time you embrace all the beautiful
hues your heart desires!
  Try that beautiful deep orange that’s perfect for Fall, or that hot pink shade you’ve had your eyes set on for this upcoming Summer. Don’t be afraid to stand out boldly. Honey, you were never meant to fit in. Try out different colors, both light and dark, until you decide which ones complement you best.
2. Mix and match.
   Have fun with your style. Play around with the mixing and matching of different prints to remix your normal wardrobe. Take risks you may have never been comfortable taking due to what others might say. Give your outfits some extra sass by engaging in color blocking and mixing of different textures/prints.
  Lace and leather is one of my personal favorite mix and match combinations. It’s the feminine softness paired with a tough edge that I feel reflects my personality. Of course, not everything can be paired, but if you experiment with different combinations enough you’ll eventually find great pairings that work for you. Don’t be afraid to check out blogs or networks like Pinterest for stylist ideas.
3. Block out your critics.
   Although body acceptance and positivity have become more popular among women worldwide, unfortunately there will always be those that seek to body shame others who don’t fit their standard of beauty. Let’s face it: there will always be hurt people that try to hurt other people with their words and behavior.
  Remove this negativity from your life, both on and offline. Don’t make someone else’s internal conflict your issue. Stop surrounding yourself with people who continue to make you feel uncomfortable with yourself, or people who don’t seem to like the fact that you love yourself the way you are.
  Stop reading nasty comments aimed towards those who look like you, and instead focus on those who celebrate and embrace all body types, including yours. Wear what makes you feel good, and surround yourself with people who make you feel just the same.
4. Flaunt what you love, and minimize what you don’t.
   We all have days where we feel that some things are just off. You may have a day that your legs are looking great, but you feel that your girls aren’t sitting as nice as they normally do. You may feel that your waistline looks great and snatched, but that you don’t like how your arms look in the top you’re wearing. No one said that body acceptance means you’ll feel you’re perfect every minute of the day. “Off” days will happen, and that’s okay.
  Take time to play up the things you feel look great, emphasizing the things you feel you like the most about your body, and minimizing the things you may not be as pleased with at the moment. If you’re not feeling your legs being out today, throw on a cute pair of jeans with a stunning top. If you feel too bloated, find a flowy dress that disguises your midsection, focusing on your legs and knock out heels.
  Take time to make note of the things you love about your body, and the things you love but still feel you need to work on improving. You don’t have to stay home feeling unpretty, or like you have nothing to wear simply because you’re having a day where nothing seems to look or feel right. Learn to shop for the things you want to emphasize as well as for minimizing pieces that will get you through the seasons.
5. Wear your confidence.
   A smile is your greatest accessory. It warms any color combination you could ever come up with. I love the saying “You’re never fully dressed without a smile”. A lot of times it’s your confidence that brings an outfit alive, and makes you stand out. Don’t be afraid to own your own style choices and carry yourself like the stylish diva you are. What better way to send a message of confidence across than a warm smile and a great strut as you go throughout your day?
Chin up, shoulders back, and confidence forward, darling. You are not only beautiful, it you are also beautifully made. Don’t ever let anyone or anything make you feel otherwise.

I broke my right arm in 4th grade, while trying to do a backflip…while hula hooping.
There I was, in the living room while my parents were in the next room talking with their guests. I remember every moment of that day like it happened just yesterday. I was feeling adventurous and unstoppable. I had never even taken gymnastics, but I was intrigued by how they flew through the air effortlessly. I always got excited and held my breath waiting for them to land successfully on their feet at the end of their routines. So being the daredevil that I always was, I decided to try a backflip of my own with the added challenge of hula hooping simultaneously. I failed…terribly.
I can remember all the emotions I felt leading up to the moment I decided to try the backflip. The excitement….the pressure…the fear of getting in trouble due to my parents being able to see me attempt the trick. I gathered up the nerve to do it anyway, because I felt that I wouldn’t ever learn to backflip effortlessly like those Olympic gymnasts if I never even tried. There was nothing to it but to do it. I remember feeling happy, determined, yet fearful as I threw my body backwards into the air. So many emotions passed through in that short period of time as I felt my body successfully flipping into position to land.
Then I panicked. What if I hurt myself? What if I snap my neck? I’ve never tried this before! What was I thinking?! My eyes caught my dad’s stern look as I prepared to land, and regret immediately set in. I landed on my backside with my right arm (and the hula hoop) underneath me, and it was probably one of the most painful moments of my life. In the world of gymnastics, landing successfully on your feet at the end of a routine is referred to as “sticking the landing”. I failed to do that, but at that young age, I learned a valuable lesson that would stay with me forever.
Life is full of twists and turns. The ups and downs we experience take us on a crazy emotional rollercoaster ride that we sometimes find difficult to get out of. Year in and year out, we go through things that build or break us. You’ve probably found yourself wondering a time or two how you’re going to even make it through another week in the situation you’re experiencing. We spend so much time worrying about the process and all we have to endure, that we often short ourselves on finishing strong.

In focusing on all that could go wrong on your journey, you fall short of sticking your landing. Don’t get me wrong, your journey to your goals and dreams is extremely important! However, we tend to get caught up in the imperfections, detours, and roadblocks on the way. You can’t finish strong through living in fear of how things will turn out. If you focus too much on failing, you’ll lean more into that direction. During my flip, I began to focus on how bad things would turn out, and my body reacted accordingly. I basically thought myself into failure.
A new year is upon us. 2018 is approaching, and 2017 has been a tough year for many of us. I challenge you to work on sticking your own landing, so that you can end this year on a better note, and lead yourself into a positive and productive new year. Don’t worry about all that has gone wrong this year, or all the things that could go wrong before the year officially ends. Below are three things to do in order to help you stick your landing.

Think positive thoughts

Don’t consume yourself with negative thoughts about yourself or others. Positivity can be just as easy to indulge in as negativity. It all depends on what you choose to focus your energy on. Don’t waste time on things and people that don’t contribute anything positive to your life. Too often we waste time dwelling in negativity, instead of seeking what will serve us best.

Free yourself from past circumstances

Don’t fill your heart with hopelessness due to your past. You are not your past circumstances. Focus on finishing the year on your feet. Take only the lessons learned from your past into your future, and leave all the turmoil, grudges, and stress behind. Focus on what you can change moving forward, and not the things you can’t control. Focus on ending this year, and beginning the next one, on a good note. We can’t change what has happened in the past, but we can change the way we walk into what’s ahead. We can change our outlook in order to help us change our outcomes.

Finish strong

Sticking your landing requires extreme focus. This is a focus you won’t get while paying too much attention or trying to keep up with what others have going on. Your life is your own journey to take, at your own pace. Keeping up with others will only slow down your journey and distract you from a successful landing. Pace and discipline yourself to focus on how you want to end this year and begin the next one. Don’t allow outside opinion or ridicule to make you shy away from the vision you have for your journey.

Pulling it all together

Mindset plays a large role in whether you fail or succeed. When you make a conscious decision to want better for your future instead of dwelling in the not-so-great moments of your past, you are already putting yourself a huge step ahead in your journey. There’s only a few days left of this year, but make them count. Work hard, focus on the goals you’ve set for yourself, and put your best foot forward in order to stick your landing, and spring into your new year successfully.