Life Happens

In 2005, I was given the vision of the business I wanted to start. I came up with a name and outlined the services that would be offered. My target market was outlined, and I began making partnerships with other professionals with whom I would work to fulfill the vision.

In 2006, I completed my graduate program and relocated to a Charlotte. My goal was to become a business owner, however as a new graduate; I also needed the consistent flow of financial resources that came in the form of a traditional job. It was my intention to save money that would be used to launch my company. Life happened and I got bogged down in the hustle and bustle of working, and because I was in my field, it wasn’t as if I felt totally unfilled in my life. While I wanted more, I became comfortable with feeling content. Eventually, I became unhappy at work, because I wanted more and did not want to be confined by a job description. I also hadn’t saved as much money as I had wanted, nor had I conducted the proper research to learn the steps I needed to take to build the type of agency I wanted.

In 2007, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and my aunt, who had been sick for quite awhile passed away that year. Feeling overwhelmed with life, I opted to resign from my position and relocated back to my home town of Florence to assist in the care of my grandparents, as my dad wasn’t able to do as much as he could normally, given his prognosis. This was a major turning point in my career, as the change in the atmosphere of our economy rendered me unable to secure employment. As the savings I had acquired dwindled, I became more and more sad and feelings of worthlessness crept into my consciousness On one hand, I was happy to be able to help out my family, but on the other hand, I knew I wanted more. I knew there was more to my life than working for $10 an hour with a Master’s degree, because I decided a little money coming in was better than no money. Nevertheless, per usual, I decided to keep on my happy face, masking what I was really feeling inside.

In 2008, my dad passed away. Obviously, it was a very sad time, but what many don’t know is I felt more useless than ever. Still not working in my field, I felt like the major reason in my moving back was no longer there and yet I was still stuck there. I made the decision to open up my job search to Columbia, and within a short while I received a job offer and moved. I was still making considerably less than my education and experience would typically dictate, however I leaped at the opportunity to start at the bottom and work my way up. That’s what we are taught, right?

In 2009, my paternal grandmother passed away. Despite the fact she was more like a mother than a grandmother to me, if you been keeping a tally; her death marked the 3rd death in 3 years in the same family. All people with whom I loved dearly. My world was shattered and many familial relationships ruined, something quite typical when death occurs. While I was employed, eventually that unsettled feeling crept up into the pit of my stomach again, and when it became obvious I wouldn’t be promoted; I reignited my job search, deciding to return back to Charlotte as a representation of the last time I was most happy with my personal and professional lives.

In 2010, I accepted a job offer in Charlotte and was ecstatic about my “new life.” Well, the transition wasn’t as smooth as I’d like for it to be and I found myself once again working for someone who wanted to stifle my greatness. I was more determined than ever to start my business, but the consistent setbacks convinced me I needed a business degree so that I would be equipped with the proper information to run a successful business. I began working on my MBA and while in that program, I finally penned my business plan. I knew what I wanted to do and became obsessed with opening a nonprofit program designed to assist young ladies with enrolling in and successfully completing college. Through my years of work, I knew this was the best population for me. Additionally, I knew college was a major turning point in my life, so helping others accomplish the same was my way of giving back.

In 2011, I was looking forward to finishing my degree and launching my business. While I wasn’t working in an ideal setting; I knew it was only a matter of time before I would be doing what I always dreamed I would. In November of 2011, I received some information that would forever change who I was and how I viewed myself. A positive pregnancy test will do that to any woman, but for me, it sent me into a state of denial because in my mind I went from being a positive role model for young ladies, to the person I worked hard not to become: a single mother. While it wasn’t death sentence, it took me some time to accept that I had let down God. I revisited opening a nonprofit and was led in a different direction. Through my pregnancy, I was reminded that my story can help many, as I was able to reconnect with some true friends who showed me how great of an impact we had on each other. I also had the opportunity to meet some really awesome people who were motivated and refreshed by my story.

I began to look at my purpose more broadly, realizing I limited my God-given gifts while He wanted so much more for me.

In 2012, I gave birth and my vocabulary is too limited to describe how she changed every fiber of my being. I’ve learned so much about myself through motherhood. My desire to be a beacon of light led to me changing my business plan, as the type of business I wanted to opened changed. Researching life coaching was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, because it showed me how I can change the world, without limitations.

In 2013, my newly-inspired vision came to life with the launching of Infinite Fortitude LLC. It took me many years, many tears, many trials, and many obstacles to bring faithfulness to fruition. Probably because it took me many years to learn to lessons I needed to in order to become the person I’ve been created to be in this world. I am grateful for it all, as it has prepared me for where I stand today.

Life happens. Let me help you become who you were meant to be through the services offered by Infinite Fortitude LLC. Your consultation is free. Don’t let life continue to make you ignore that feeling in the pit of your stomach. It took me 8 years to get my dream off of the ground, but it happened because I didn’t give up on myself. I can’t promise you the journey will be easy, but I can promise you that I will be there with you through it all.

Sincerely,
Shanika

Visit www.infinitefortitude.com to learn more!

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It’s Been A Long Time….

I should nah left you without a dope blog to read to! 🙂

It has been forever since I’ve posted a blog, primarily because life has been such a whirlwind and I haven’t had much time to write. So this is basically a “catch all” post.

~I can’t remember off of the top of my head how far along in my pregnancy I was when I last posted, however today I am 37 weeks and will be 38 weeks tomorrow. Thank God, I am now considered full term and my baby is in the ideal position for her escape into the world, which means I can go into labor at any point now. Exciting and scary at the same time!!!

~We decided to change her name from Nola Grace to Nola Rose so that she would be named after her grandmother and great-grandmother, 2 phenomenal women who have had a great impact on our lives and the lives of many others. Our angel is destined for greatness!

Hmmm….I guess that’s it. Well, that’s all I want to include in this post. I have much more that I’ve experienced and learned over the past month, however I want to honor them with a post of their own.

Ok, I’ll admit it: all I can really think about right now is my baby and forgot what else I wanted to include in this blog! Ahahaaha!!!

 

Planned

After announcing to my friends and family that I was pregnant, a few people asked me if I had planned it. This seemed to be one of the most absurd questions I’ve ever encountered, given I am not a married woman and given that I have always been vocal about wanting to be married prior to becoming a mom. It baffled me to the point to where I questioned who I have been in my life, as my question quite naturally was, “what about me says I would intentionally become a single mother?” In my mind, perhaps it would make more sense if I were much older, but given the fact that I haven’t succumbed to societal pressures to be married by a certain age; that should have been a clear indication that I don’t care what people say about what I “should” be doing in my life. 

 

Let’s be clear, I have been proposed to more than once in my life, 3 times to be exact, and twice by the same person (the first time I said “no” and the second time I said “hell no” because he obviously didn’t hear me the first time he asked. we broke up shortly thereafter). This is a fact I don’t think I have shared with anyone, because when asked, I knew they weren’t my husband, so there really was no need to involve my friends or family in something that would never be because that would undoubtedly lead to annoying questions and unnecessary pressure stemming from their projections. 

 

In theory, if I was concerned about what people thought about my marital status, I had 3 opportunities in my 20’s to do something about it. Thankfully, I was secure enough in myself to not give in, just to have the pleasure of saying I could change my last name, have the big wedding and reception, only to pacify the public, while denying my true desires, wants, and needs. Had I gotten married at those times, my priorities would have changed and I probably would not have gone back to school for my Masters degree until much later, if at all.

Many also know that I spent a bulk of my 20’s taking care of family members, which meant I often traveled to my hometown several times throughout each month, before I eventually resigned from my position and moved there when the travelling became too physically and emotionally draining. Had I been married, I’m certain that scenario would have played out differently, as I wouldn’t have been able to up and leave my husband and who knows; I could have also had kids by that point, which would have made traveling to Florence much more difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. I’m thankful for the time I got to spend with my dad before he passed away. I learned so much in those last months and many questions from my childhood finally received answers. That experience was the type of self healing that can only occur when you are able to put self first. I also got to fulfill some promises I made to my grandmother before she passed away.

Again, if I had a husband or children, there is no way I could have accomplished what I was able to do for them. Only a single person with no major responsibilities outside of the typical bills could get done what I got done. The conversations I was able to have with my grandparents before my grandmother left shed light on so many things and also gave me answers I needed in moving forward. Even when things went berserk after my grandmother passed away, I had peace because I knew. I have peace, because I know. 

 

My 20’s were spent concentrating on myself, my education, my career, and my family of origin. Keeping that focus allowed me to not have any regrets. I never thought time was running out on the marriage and kids front, because 30 isn’t old in my opinion. I still had more I wanted to accomplish in my career. I eventually went back to school to increase the knowledge I believed I needed to enhance that career, and in my mind 2012 was my year to make the career moves I was unable to make because I spent so much time making sure I wasn’t more than a quick drive away from home. This was my time to open that business, so to get knocked up in 2011 was far from any plan I had for my life. At the time, I was in a great relationship with a man unlike any other I’ve dated and I was content with seeing where that would grow. However, missing my period wasn’t planned. 

 

Every fear I’ve ever had was actualized in the moment when the results of that pregnancy test came back. My mom reared us without a husband, so I knew first hand the difficult road I had ahead of me. Disappointment in myself also set in, as I couldn’t logically think of how in the world I could have gotten pregnant after never having so much as a pregnancy scare in my 32 years of life. I had prided myself on being able to live the dream of graduating from high school, going to college and graduating, going back to college and graduating, and finding myself working in a career with young girls who saw me as an example they should follow.

That gave me joy and much pride, as I was able to show them that you did not have to give in to pressure and it is okay to wait to have sex (there were several years of celibacy during this time period). All of my years of work, all of those group sessions, all of those individual conversations seemed to drip down my face with each tear that flowed. I thought I had let down everyone, including myself and God. Being the book smart person I am, I knew I could continue to work with young ladies and have my testimony serve as a “look at what can happen to you” story, however, I did not want to be the stereotypical single mother who now works as a mentor showing young ladies there is a better way than the path she took. I preferred being the “this is how you can live your life and still be content and happy” mentor where my life and my choices were the choices to make. Why would someone like me choose to eat so many words shared over the years?

 

After disappointment came denial. There was no freaking way I was pregnant. No way whatsoever. I ignored it and carried on with my life as if I never received the results of both home pregnancy tests. I convinced myself that the sickness I was feeling was from that stupid job that I hated. They made me sick daily. And since I never vomited like most pregnant women do, then that means I wasn’t pregnant in my mind. The queasiness I felt with certain smells were because I was weening myself off of fatty foods and apparently I was doing great on my diet because the smell of this garbage turned my stomach. Yay fruits and veggies! 

 

After denial, rationalization. In my “book smart” mind, I knew statistically most first pregnancies ended in miscarriage, so I chose to wait out the month of December. I received no medical care because I just knew I would miscarry. Everyday, several times a day, I went to the restroom and looked for blood in the toilet. Abortion was never an option, but in my mind if I had a miscarriage, that would have been God’s natural way of warning me “this too could happen to you” and I would have learned my lesson. Nearing the end of December, the blood never came, and I knew I had to tell my mom. At this point only the dad and one other friend knew that I “thought” I was pregnant. But somehow, I knew I had to tell my mom. Well, I did and she didn’t believe me which pissed me off, so again I went back into denial. After the first of the year, my relationship is more rocky and while I’m no genius in math; I knew the last time I had my period was in October which meant by this point, I was a couple months pregnant. I made the decision to get over myself and make a doctor’s appointment. 

 

I got a big surprise when at the doctor’s office they told me I was pregnant. *Insert sarcasm* What was shocking to me was that I was already out of my first trimester. Those fools told me I was 14 weeks pregnant! I looked at the nurse and said, “I’m in my second trimester.” In a “duh” kind of tone she said, “Yes.” She then slapped that cold gel on my belly and for the first time I heard my baby’s heartbeat. I didn’t say a word, but tears flowed endlessly down my cheeks. I don’t know if they were happy tears or sad tears, but it felt real in that moment. My denial and rationalization turned to guilt. I began to hope I hadn’t done anything to hurt my baby. I couldn’t stop crying because in that very moment I wanted nothing but happiness for this child. I finally accepted the fact that I was indeed pregnant. 

 

I began to tell others. Many of the reactions were disbelief and I understood why. I went through it myself. But I still couldn’t and can’t fathom why anyone who truly knows me would think I would plan something like this. I know we live in a day and time where self-proclaimed “independent women” willingly becoming single mothers and profess to want to do it on their own, but I am a clinically-trained therapist who understands the psycho-social reasons behind why it’s best that children have 2 parents. As a woman who has accepted Christ as her savior years ago, I know what God thinks of pre-martial sex, marriage as a covenant, and parenting as a ministry. As a child from a single-parent household, I know life as a single parent won’t be all cheese omelets and walks on the beach. 

 

This journey has also taught me not to beat myself up too much because as much as we plan out our lives, sometimes a bigger plan comes in and trumps it all. A part of me accepting I was pregnant was because I realized many women were trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully. I also realized that women were getting pregnant but not able to carry full term. I began noticing articles where women were blessed with children only to abuse them in some of the most unimaginable ways. Seeing and experiencing these things led to me asking God to forgive me for ever wishing ill of my pregnancy, as there obviously was a reason He kept me and this baby. He chose me to be a mother at this point in my life for some reasons that have already unfolded and others I’m sure will continue to unfold. And while I know God is not pleased with my actions, I thank Him for his grace and mercy. I thank Him for forgiveness. I thank Him for keeping His promises to me despite my shortcomings to Him. From disappointment to denial to rationalization to incredibly humbled is where I now stand.

 

 

As I sit here today at 31 weeks and 2 days pregnant with a little girl I have yet to meet and am already completely and totally in love with; I have reached the point where I again say I am not concerned with what others think. I will continue to work towards my goals, perhaps more diligently now than ever now that I have another reason not to fail. I will continue to let people know God is good even when we are not. I will let my child know she is not a mistake and she is here for a reason. Every life God creates has a purpose~each and every one. I will teach her to be who God created her to be and not fall prey to what others think she should be or do in her life. She will be taught to make plans for her life, but to ultimately submit to the plan of the One who gave her life, as ultimately that’s the only plan that will manifest anyway. 

 

The Circle of Life

Written 02-23-12

Tomorrow is the day I’m hoping to find out if I am having a boy or girl. I’ve made it clear a want a girl, however my son would receive just as much love. Truthfully, I’m afraid of having a boy as my biggest fear is having to, as a single mother, rear a Black man. That task seems to be one I can’t tackle the way I would want to, with my Black husband by my side. At any rate, regardless of the sex; I hope to have a very healthy and loving child.

The biggest reason I want a girl is because I want to name her after my paternal grandmother. I secretly hope to have a piece of her back here with me because I miss her soooo much. I also want that unique mother-daughter bond. I want to teach her to be a better woman than I am. I envision a bright, beautiful face with a large, curly afro. I can’t wait to teach her to love her black skin and kinky hair.

I really want to alleviate from her life all insecurities I had as a young girl. I want to tell her all of the things I wanted to hear. I don’t ever want her to feel as if I don’t understand her or what she’s feeling or going through. Essentially I want to heal my childhood wounds by loving her the way I wish I was loved.

Black families don’t always verbally express love, it’s often implied. Sometimes we need to hear it.

This isn’t about not knowing I was loved. This is about giving love the best way in which the person receives it, however in order to do that; one must take the time to get to know the individual on a level that transcends the day-to-day routine. Each child is unique and it is the parent’s responsibility to lay the foundation for such uniqueness to flourish.

This can be a difficult task if there is more than one child in the household, or if you’re a single mother doing it all by yourself, or with little help. Even in two parent households, this task is a challenging feat with all of the roles each parent has. However, we owe this to our children so that when they are parents they will know how to best express love.