Tag Archives: optimism

**The Road To 27** Post 5 of 7 – Health

I know health is an awkward thing to reflect on the week of your birthday, but hey, it’s something that’s important to me!

From the second I was conceived, I battled and fought to have a healthy life. When my mom was in her last trimester, doctors could see that something “wasn’t right” with me. In the eighties, technology wasn’t as advanced as it is now, so basically all they could do was speculate.

On the day of my birth, it was discovered that I had a massive brain tumor that prevented a large portion of my skull from forming. To make things even more perplexing, I was the first case in US history to have a brain tumor connected to ANOTHER arachnoid cyst, which rested in my throat. Doctors were flown in from overseas and it was predicted that IF I survived the first day or so, I would be nothing more than a common vegetable. After not being able to even HOLD me after I was birthed, those doctors sat there and told my parents (as I lie in the UNC Chapel Hill Hospital NICU) that I would never walk, I would never learn to speak, and that I would never to be able to do anything more than stare up as they faced a lifetime of changing, feeding, and cleaning me. Can you IMAGINE how that felt?!

Needless to say, I’m here typing this blog, so OBVIOUSLY God had much better plans for me! I am so thankful for praying parents and family!

As I grew, I was in and out of the hospital for check ups, maintenance, and a few other minor things (given the enormity of my first diagnosis) — but other than a few tussles with asthma, I was as good as gold!

One thing always rested heavily on my mind though….would I be healthy enough to ever have my OWN children?


If you have met me over the past 10 years, you would probably think of me as a head strong, determined, career oriented, “I can do bad all by myself” type person. The truth is, that’s not at all who I am. My number one goal/desire in life (and always have been) was to be a wife and mother (emphasis on the mother part). I am still striving daily to advance in life and excel in a career that makes me happy, but it doesn’t take the place of family. To be honest, I am totally find with being a housewife and working from home if it means I can spend more time with my future kids. One issue with that according to my neonatal surgeons…. is that the shunt doctors wired throughout my body runs through the entire length of my torso — thus on paper, make it risky to carry a baby.

Let me stop right here and say that though I’ve battled suppressing these negative thoughts throughout life, I have learned to lean on God in faith through Jesus Christ my Savior who made it possible for me to even come to God’s majestic throne and ASK for a miracle. So whatever God’s will for my life is, I believe wholeheartedly, that it will include me being a mother SOME WAY, some how. Ok…now back to the reflection…

Toxic thoughts began to knock at the doors of my mind at an early age saying “Who is going to marry someone who needs so much medical care?” and “What man will want a woman who can’t bare children?” and “If you want someone, you’ll have to settle.”, and “You might as well just cope with being single forever, because it isn’t medically possible or safe for you to have your own children.” — the lies continued on and on.

Up until my first year out of college, I was able to keep thinking positive as I rose above those negative thoughts and denied them access into my psyche. But after a brief bout will illness in 2011, these thoughts exploded back onto the scene with a vengeance. I would literally sit in my room and cry….just cry. All those terrible “doctor’s predictions” came knocking louder as anger tried to rest in my heart as I witnessed these hoodrat chicks (just being real here folks) and TODDLERS pop out babies they didn’t take care of or didn’t even really want. I even found myself getting upset at some of my friends who’d had babies out of wedlock — because here they were venting to me about the struggles of having a child, when I would GLADLY take on that struggle if it meant being a wife and a mother. (those feelings are now gone by the way)

It’s taken some years, but now — here upon year 27 — I’m on the path to continued healthy living! Emotionally and physically. I am trying to keep my weight down…I’m adopting new exercise plans…and I’m focusing on healthy eating. I have now resolved those emotional issues that once plagued me (and work at it daily), I haven’t had any serious health problems (and I don’t plan to) and most importantly, I realize that whatever man I marry will have to accept me for my past, where I am in my present, and be willing to create a future together with me — however and whenever we are blessed with our children.  ❤


Photo shot and edited by Rich Griffis (www.richgriffis.com)

[photo by Rich Griffis ]

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Filed under Dear Diary, It's Me Joc


photo 2After interviewing amazing women in the entertainment and fashion industry last year for WEEN (check my work here www.weenonline.org/ ) I was inspired in more ways than I could EVER imagine! While interviewing one young woman in particular, I was introduced to the concept of a “vision board”. She said she made one every year to make her goals physical and visible to reminder to keep grinding and to work hard. Now I’ve done something similar to this, but never really took it to heart. You know, the list that you make in your notebook of “to do” goals. Yeah. Totally didn’t work. haha

So when I started to wrap up last year, I thought, why not see if some of my closest “movers and shakers” – aka friends – would be open to having a Vision Board Party where we could bounce ideas off of each other, celebrate each other, and make Vision Boards to take home and be inspired by.

When I ran this by my good friend Rich, he reacted to it in the very same way that I’d been hoping! He said he heard of vision boards before and always wanted to try his hand in making one, but never got around to it. Within a week, we had a Facebook Invite set up to invite 5 of our closest friends. We originally set it up for December at Rich’s apartment, but due to schedule conflicts we kept pushing it back. Well this past weekend we FINALLY cashed in on things and it was perfect! One of our friends had a death in her family so she wasn’t able to make it, but we made sure to send her something special in the mail to let her know that we were missing her.photo 1

During the night, we laughed, vibed to music, discussed important issues dealing with people of color, young entrepreneurs, pop culture, and our future. We snacked and talked for hours — and when we were all done, we each stood up and explained what each thing on our respective vision boards symbolized. BOY OH BOY — do I have some powerhouses in MY circle! I have to honestly say that I am so proud of, excited of, and grateful to have these people close to me. It really makes the difference when you have friends who not only support you, but keep you in check when you start to lose ‘vision’. 

Most people have friends who celebrate them when they do foolish things or partake in sketchy behavior, but not the people I associate with. NO SIR! NO MAAM! We are all Christ led, serious about our futures, and are set up to prosper. We aren’t sleeping around with every Tom and Tracy…we aren’t out here slinging drugs or tail….we aren’t wasting our money, blowing it on drinks and the club every weekend — we save…we invest….we are the leaders on tomorrow…shoot, we are the leaders of NOW!

Well enough chatting…gotta go make some more moves! If you have friends who are close enough and focused enough to have a Vision Board Party I suggest you throw one this year! Your future self will thank you for it!

– Joc


Check out the rest of the photos (mostly by Rashaad)  in my next post at http://www.jocsphotography.wordpress.com/

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