Growing up I ate cereal a lot, sweets whenever I wanted, and could drink a gallon of whole milk by myself a week. On Fridays there would be treat from Dunkin Donuts or Pizza Hut and homecooked meals would come mainly from soul food Saturdays at my maternal grandmother’s house, many times I spent at my paternal grandmother’s house, and weekends with my daddy in another household. Outside of eating, I was active in the various physical activities provided in school, the after-school program I attended, and summer camp. Plus, I remember family bike rides with my daddy. When it came to hydration, water was something I rarely drank. After typing all of that, I wonder how I dodged having sugar diabetes BUT I am happy that I do not have that or any other ailments.
It was not until my teenage years that I saw blaring examples of unhealthy lifestyles. For example, obesity was around me and my daddy deteriorated in front of over two decades after not taking care of his blood pressure. My daddy was a workaholic. He was a hard worker and did a lot for others. However, that took away from him making the time to care for himself. During a trip to Saks Fifth Avenue to shop for a bathing suit for me to attend a school trip, we had to pull on the side of the road on Park Avenue to call the ambulance. I was only 16 years old. I was scared because I have not seen my daddy this way before. It ended up in the ambulance taking him to the hospital and I had to drive the car, which my daddy taught me how to drive at a young age, to the hospital. From that point on he was in and out of the hospital for a long time. I even was in the cardiac intensive care unit (ICU) room with him when he took his last breath and transitioned from being alive to being dead.
That experience hit me hard, then it was the fact that I wanted to get pregnant. I saw what pregnancy could do to women, so right before I got married in 2013, I vowed to myself to take better care of myself. I even became a Wellness Coach to help others along their journey. I became visual proof that when you take care of yourself you will reap the positive benefits. I became deep into self-care and hoped for those around me to join, but that was not the case. It was disheartening. However, I remember my daddy once telling me “One monkey doesn’t stop the show” so I focused more on my journey over the years and decided to just work with the willing and not press my healthier living habits on others.
I am talking physically exercising, eating healthier, drinking at least half your body weight in ounces, investing into daily personal development, etc. Now I am by no means perfect. I am a work in progress, but I must say that I am a better Crystal than my 16-year-old self. From my death of my daddy in 2014, the two cancer battles my mommy encountered then her death in 2019, my eyes and ears are wide open to how my body feels and the changes I see happening over the years.
Providing and receiving accountability has helped me tremendously to focus on self-care and my overall wellness. I realized that taking care of me in the morning could change my entire mood. It is like I am on a natural high for that day. So, I encourage each and every person who reads this to MAKE time for you. Yes, make it! We all have the same 24 hours in the day, so carve out time for yourself. You are worth it. 😉