Shifting Our Thinking When We Look Into The Mirror

Last week a telling story about body image and self-esteem was shared on my other site, that I feel should be shared here.

How many of you struggle with and cringe at what you see when you look into the mirror?

Whether it’s weight-related, age-related, health-related, or tied to your wallet’s inability to cover the costs of dentistry, eyewear, or a more flattering hairstyle—many of us don’t love without condition or judgment what we see in the mirror.

Read this post and then share your thoughts and opinions below.

Original Source: http://natashaforeman.com/2018/03/02/when-you-look-in-the-mirror-what-body-do-you-wish-you-saw-instead-of-the-one-you-see/

Don’t Let This Be You…

You know if this is you. Break the cycle. I don’t think a mug can hold more than six years of procrastination–well at least not with the same sized font 😂

I’m Divorced: I’m Only Saying This Once , There Are No Re-Do’s 😉

I’ve been divorced for 9 months.

Most of you are shocked to read those words. But they are true no matter how many times you re-read them.

This message has been sitting as a draft on my phone for six months. I wasn’t ready to share this at that time. I thought I could three months ago, but I still wasn’t ready. I made the decision that I would share in December. Symbolic for many reasons. Year-end, holiday cheer, families together, and because I hoped that this December would feel and be better than last year.

So today I share the life-altering news with all of you—family, friends, associates, students, and strangers.

No, I will not share details.

I didn’t share intimate details of our courtship, engagement, wedding, and married life. I didn’t even rush to let people know I was dating, engaged, or married. That’s because I value and wanted privacy. I wanted to protect my man, my life, and what we had together. I didn’t want a bunch of folks all in our “mix” because I know that there are twice as many people hating on you than loving you. So I did my best to protect one of the most valuable relationships I had second to my relationship with God.

You got a highlight reel of my life. So guess what?

I won’t be sharing details about how we got to this point. Because plain and simply, it’s my life, and I value and want privacy.

No, I won’t feed your need to gossip at my expense. Even though some of you will most likely materialize your own content to feed upon. *smile*

We do like “tea” don’t we?

You can ponder and speculate but the end result will remain the same…

What once was is no longer.

I’m only making this statement because I’m frequently receiving emails and comments on my websites, messages through social media, and being approached in public by people who joyfully praise me, him, and us. People make comments about “#MarriageGoals” and I slightly cringe because they haven’t a clue.

Countless times this year I’ve spoken with people who have expressed a level of pride from looking at my marriage, the image that was publicly portrayed and lived, and seeing us over the years at various events. I’ve had people contact me to let me know that they pray for our marriage and the work that we do in the community. I couldn’t bring myself to tell these strangers, “thanks but he’s my ex husband now”. So I always find discreet ways to thank them for their kind and loving words and prayers, and then I leave the rest alone.

I’ve discreetly removed myself from so much but clearly it hasn’t been enough. My absence hasn’t made clear my current status, it’s only made me less visible. People assume they don’t see me somewhere because I’m busy.

There’s so much content of us online that all online searches express and imply the same “message”–that we’re still this visionary powerhouse couple. When the truth is, we used to be but now we are merely two visionary, powerhouse individuals focused on our own separate missions. We are on separate paths. We are no longer a couple. There is no “we”. We can’t erase or rewrite our past, and why would we? It was ours and we lived it boldly and I have no regrets. At the same time we must move forward to what is now the present.

I will not clarify what is most clear. The first sentence of this post can’t get any clearer.

Many who know us personally, professionally, or indirectly through our very public work are or will be shocked by this admission. But just as everything else in life, this too you will get over, get past, and it will soon become a distant memory that resurfaces in random moments and even more random online searches.

But your life will go on, move forward, unscathed, uninterrupted, unbothered—and for those and other more important reasons, I ask that you refrain from further inquiry. There’s no need to dig for what is already at surface level.

If you know me and didn’t already know this big shocker then you should be able to answer your own question as to why you didn’t know my reality months ago.

No offense. I’m good. Really I am. I’m strong. I’ve “got this”—well, God has this and I’m rolling with Him.

Thank you. I love you.

All I want and need right now is peace and the clear space to hear and act on what God is calling me to move forward on. I want to be free to embrace the opportunities that come my way. God has huge things planned for me and I can’t waste His time or mine, because He’s not giving me forever to get these things accomplished.

Please respect me, respect my former husband, respect what once was, and respect what God has planned for our individual and separate futures. Our union is no longer. A seven-year history has ended. Lessons learned, experiences shared, milestones reached, and excellence attained. We built some amazing ideas into real masterpieces.

I’m honored to have served in many roles through Operation HOPE. I’m proud of the work I accomplished, the tireless commitment and sacrifice to seeing an idea become a reality with HOPE Business In A Box, my 7 years as a HOPE Corp volunteer sharing Banking on Our Future with students all over, and my life will forever be changed by the lives that I encountered and embraced over 7 amazing years. Being away from both programs, away from the students and the pitch competitions feels awkward, abnormal, and like a huge void. But I will just have to find a new “home” to connect with, serve, and share my gifts.

I’m glad that my advice and suggestions have led to the start of other programs, technologies, organizational practices, social groups, and organizations over the past few years. No one and nothing can change that. It was, it is, and it forever will be a part of my legacy and the legacy of this great organization and those affiliates that have launched in the past two years. May they all thrive and be successful. I’ve done what I was supposed to and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

If you’re a supporter of the work then increase your level of support, there’s a global mission to fulfill. If you’re not a supporter then consider being one. Support their efforts—or support another organization’s efforts, just do something. Don’t just be a spectator, be a positive change agent.

My job there is done. Sooner than I thought. I wanted to do so much more. But that’s an “oh well”. The season is over and it’s time to move forward.

Now it’s time to end one chapter and begin a new one. Well I’ve already started on my new chapter, I’m just telling you so that you can catch up (*smile*). You can’t keep holding on to the page of this book trying to re-read the sentences, and I won’t entertain you as you attempt to stall. The story doesn’t just pause or remain in your fragmented happy-limbo state simply because you don’t move forward. It’s time to turn the page….

As the saying goes, “people are in your life for a reason, a season, and a lifetime” and the latter just wasn’t in the cards for us. The “reason” for me was and is clear—to see and feel the possibility of giving, sharing, supporting, and believing in someone else as much and in many ways more than myself. I supported the man and his mission while focused on my own. I made it “look easy” (as some have said) because it wasn’t “work” in my mind, for me I was doing my part as a partner, I was doing what it took to help a man fulfill his mission.

Was I perfect and flawless? Heck no. I’m imperfect and have numerous flaws. I did the best I could with the resources that I had. Could’ve done more. Could’ve said more. But coulda, shoulda, woulda doesn’t matter.

For seven years I loved and sacrificed for a man, and I have absolutely no regrets. I was blessed to love so deeply and for as long as I did. If I couldn’t say that, then I would have to question a great deal about myself and my relationship. I put my trust in God and He never fails me. My hurt and disappointment will be temporary because what I have with God is eternal. I keep my eyes, ears, and heart tuned into His station.

For me, my marriage was the commitment to be selfless and to dive in with both feet, dedicated to fulfilling my vows in all ways. I’ve grown tremendously, learned a great deal, and seen (and felt) the joy of giving myself to another while pushing and praying for that person so that they might reach every goal and overcome every obstacle. I did all that I could to protect him, the organization, and the mission.

Marriage is a wonderful union and commitment. I will always honor what it means to be married and to be a wife—both in the spiritual and literal sense.

My ex-husband taught me a lot about life, business, entrepreneurship, perseverance, overcoming adversity, facing fears, the value of building relationships not just networking, having the courage to try anything at least once and to ask for what you want in business—as he always says, “you walked in with a “no” it’s your goal to turn that “no” to a “yes”, if you don’t then it doesn’t matter, you had “no” coming in….”. Those are wise words that I recite when I need a pep talk.

I will take some of the lessons that I learned from observing, listening, and being guided by him, and I will build upon them as I climb to goals yet achieved. I will reattempt things that I failed at, like scuba diving (my deep sea experience was too much for a beginner) and getting back on a scooter (after falling and getting second degree burns from the motor—two weeks before our wedding).

I’m focused on being a better person, servant, woman, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, educator, and entrepreneur. I’m focused on preparing myself as a mother and maybe one day, even a wife again—well, the latter isn’t my focus, but as the saying goes, “never say never” and since I’ve been wrong about my “never’s” before, I will let God guide me.

Let me stop you now—no, I’m not in a relationship. I’m taking this time to focus on healing, praying, and getting stronger spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It would be unfair of me to subject a new person to my post-divorce life. I still have “muscle memory” of living with and sharing life with one man for seven years. I can’t just abruptly jump into a new relationship as though I’m healed, good, and ready to move into something with a new person. That would mean that I didn’t value my marriage and my role in it. That would mean that I had and have no feelings for him and for what we shared and built together. That would be a lie.

It would be cruel and disrespectful to subject someone to that space in my life, when I need to be open and free to give myself without reservations. I’ve grown accustomed to a routine with one person for seven years. That’s not easy to unwind and realign. I’m in no rush.

I need to feel and experience all that God needs me to realize, so that I can embrace, learn, and grow into the well-rounded woman He needs me to be. I can’t be the woman that a new man needs if I’m still wired to what my last man needed. And a new man shouldn’t be compared and contrasted to my last one. I need time and space for a clean slate—or as clean as can be expected.

I’ve spent this year working on me and learning what I want and don’t want, and what I need and don’t need in both my personal and professional lives. I have to work through and push past some fears and doubts. I have to walk the walk as it relates to my faith in God. If I say I know He has me, then I have to walk with my head up and eyes focused with the confidence in knowing that God has already taken care of my needs—He’s just waiting on me to catch up.

All that I want for Christmas is to be surrounded by my family and the peace that comes from knowing “all will be well because I walk with the Lord”. I asked my family for onesie pajamas and a $40 Atari classic game set. I’ve never been about the big, pricey gifts. I’m sentimental, so what is “small” to you is huge to me.

Some of you may be shocked to read this. Shouldn’t I be bitter and enraged? No, not at all. God is constantly blessing me and how ungrateful would I be to wallow in anger and misery when He has blessed me even through this transition. I’m saddened to see a relationship that I valued greatly come to an end—I planned to grow old with this man, and die loving and committed to him— but I know that God has other plans and He has never left or forsaken me. I’m not being punished. I’m being molded, strengthened, focused, and prepared by God. I accept what has happened because I know that if God intended for it to be it would still be.

So although I’m no longer married I am not broken. I am not alone or lonely. God has me in His Hands. I’m surrounded by family and my true friends. My cup runneth over. That brings me absolute joy!

It’s difficult to balance a private-public life and I’ve done a pretty good job with it for several years. I yearn to continue maintaining a semblance of privacy as I look forward on the path God has placed before me. It’s already difficult to remain focused with life’s distractions, I don’t need anything extra coming my way through rumors, declarations, or inquiries. Of course you will see my highlight reels, but the full and complete story of my life is reserved exclusively for me.

Just consider if you were me–try walking in my shoes for a moment and consider how you would want to be treated, and then please try your best to walk, act, and speak accordingly.

Please don’t attempt to be a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys new-age sleuth intrigued by missing puzzle pieces. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out the how, who, when, why, and where. You won’t have time to focus on your own life. Just let us move on with dignity. Please.

Thank you to those of you who have prayed with and for me, been supportive, a shoulder and a sounding board, wiping my tears and holding my hand, and never wavering a moment as my truest of friends. Thank you for never altering your relationship with me, but remaining the same as you have always been. Solid and true to your word. I love, value, and respect you.

Now let’s all get up, get out, and do what God has called us to do!

May He bless each of us abundantly and I pray that we are prepared and ready to embrace those blessings. May your year end better than it started, and may your New Year be better than this year. I know mine will be!

Warmest wishes and deepest respect,

Natasha

Copyright 2017. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Today is My Mom’s Birthday!!!!

Bride's Mother

Today is my mother’s birthday and I wanted to make sure that I shared this day with the world. My mom is my mother, friend, confidante, supporter, protector, provider, nurturer, and so much more. She was my first teacher. I was blessed to hear her heartbeat and voice from within her womb. I am the woman I am partly because of the woman who is my mom. I can’t imagine my life with another woman as my mother.

mommy and me at Santa Monica Beach 1976

She taught me how to read at the age of two. She taught me how to dance. She encouraged me to get a little dirty outside in the yard. She taught me how to cook. She taught me how to use my critical thinking skills. She exposed me to that wonderful creative brain of hers and opened my eyes to all of the wondrous things that I could one day create.

Bride's Father

My mom has taught me to seek and find the silver lining in all of life’s clouds. She also taught me the gift of giving. It is because of her I started volunteering in my community as a child. It is because of her that I continue to volunteer and give back to communities all over.

me and mom 1985

I thank God every single day for blessing me with an amazing mother, teacher, and friend. Here’s to many many many more days and years celebrating and being thankful for this beautiful woman.

mom and me at Uncle Archie funeral March 2017

Happy birthday mom. I’ve loved you from the moment I was conceived and I will love you forever.

Love Your “Fish”,

Natasha

JR JR’s Josh Epstein’s Mental Health Awareness Month Playlist

I enjoyed the Billboard article written by Patrick Crowley where Detroit duo, JR JR are highlighted, and Josh Epstein discusses why the band chose to take part of their earnings from their tour and donate them to the Jed Foundation to help with mental health and suicide prevention for young adults and youth. 

Epstein created a Mental Health Awareness playlist on Billboard’s Spotify account, and then shares why he selected some of the songs. It’s an eclectic list and in my opinion does show the spectrum of the highs, lows, struggles and victories faced by those who knowingly and unknowingly battle mental health issues. 

Check out the article and the playlist here: 

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/lifestyle/7777031/takeover-tuesday-jr-jr-mental-health-awareness-month-exclusive-interview-playlist-spotify

Did You Hear About My BIG Announcement? 

If you haven’t tuned in to my social media posts then you may not know about the big announcement I shared earlier today. 

I don’t want 2016 to end without making sure that everyone I know and everyone who knows me (or simply knows of me), hears about the big things that are planned for my life and this amazing journey in 2017. I’m so excited!!!

Check it out: https://breakingbreadwithnatasha.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/my-big-announcement/

Don’t Try to Impose Your Values, Beliefs, and Ideals Onto Others…and Please Leave Scrooge Alone!

This holiday season please consider giving pause to your need to fill in the blanks, to make things right, to force others to be spirited and joyful. For other people this isn’t the season to be jolly, and they don’t want to fake it to make you feel better. 

Just because you are feeling good, great, alive, and blessed–doesn’t mean they are. Yet you’re trying to force them to feel about their life and about themselves what you feel about yours. You’re imposing, encroaching, and pushing yourself onto them. 

Stop it!

They want to be miserable. Let them. God gives them free will, so why won’t you let them be as they want?


We feel uncomfortable with the Scrooges in our life. We feel uncomfortable when they want to twist and turn in chaos and wallow in darkness. We feel uncomfortable with their grumpiness and outbursts. We feel uncomfortable with how petty and childish they are acting. We can’t believe that they can’t see their blessings. We feel their negativity and we want instant change because it’s draining us. We try to counter it with an added dose of high energy, laughter and the like. And they come back with a whopper of dread. 

Rather than spend valuable energy and time trying to change their thinking and behavior, just change your location. Exit stage left and go about your business. 


We have a tendency to want to pour our views, values, beliefs, and ideals into others. We want people to see, think, behave, and feel the same way we do. 

Honestly, it’s selfish. 

Even if the intent is to bring harmony, it’s selfish of us to try to manipulate, persuade, or force someone to join us in that harmony. 

Some people need to wallow in self-pity to eventually see their foolishness. 

Some people need to give you silent treatments so that they too must walk around in silence–alone with their thoughts, alone with their Creator. Which is more torturous for them than actually speaking to you, but they don’t see that. 

Of course they don’t realize it when they are doing it, and sometimes they don’t even realize it after they have finished. But sometimes isolation is the best environment for purging old ways. Sometimes giving people exactly what they ask for is exactly what they need to see that what they wanted wasn’t what they actually thought it was cracked up to be. Sometimes you need to let people see the whole picture, rather than constantly trying to paint a different picture because it makes you feel uncomfortable. 

In alcohol and drug treatment programs they make a point of telling loved ones of addicts that until that addict hits rock bottom, he or she may not stop their reckless behavior. 

Why is that? 

It’s simple. An addict with enabling family and friends uses those people as a crutch to continue their recklessness. If the people around you do and say whatever it takes to keep you pleased, to cause no ripples in the water, then they are enabling the addiction and weakening the addict. 

Ironically, this too becomes an addiction. 

The enabling becomes an addiction that the addict craves. It is the one-two punch that they need each day. They have their drug and they have the support of those who either supply or contribute to the purchase of the drug. They will lie, cheat, steal, and some will even kill to feed their addiction. They will turn on you and try to get others to turn on you, and you on them—all with the ultimate goal of getting an addiction fed. When everyone participates in this grand scheme, it enables the addiction and feeds the addict. The addict wins and the rest of you lose. Big time!

When does the enabling stop? When family and friends say, “if you want to wallow in this cesspool, do it alone, but I’m not going to play a role in your foolishness” and then they exit stage left.

You have to stop trying to make people see, feel, hear, think, and believe what you do. If they are closed off, let them be. If their dysfunction makes you feel uncomfortable, then exit stage left. Because if you don’t, they will drag you into their misery. They will work feverishly to turn your light into darkness, your joy into pain. They will work tirelessly to make you feel as isolated and miserable as they do. They will impose upon you so that you can see how they truly feel about themselves. 

If they don’t believe in God, but you do, then just silently pray for them and walk away. If they do believe in God, but you don’t, then just silently walk away and cross your fingers they aren’t cursing you. Now smile. You giggled didn’t you? Good. You do have a sense of humor. You will need it to get through some of the quirkiest moments in life. I eventually find humor in even the darkest moments of my life. A chuckle turns into a laugh, and before I know it I’m bent over at the waist laughing hysterically. That’s because I refuse to be consumed by darkness. I refuse to wallow in misery and hang around miserable people. They can come to the light but I’m not entering their dungeon. 

So my fellow humans, I ask that starting today you simply focus on smiling and laughing, singing and dancing, rejoicing and praising—and doing all of this without trying to force Mr./Ms. Scrooge to join you. 

Let the “ghosts” of the past, present, and future do what they do best. Either Scrooge will come around or they won’t. But it’s not up to you to control their destiny, to alter their course, or to make them do anything. You’re here to live your life, not theirs. Don’t feed their addiction and don’t create your own. Be at peace with your peace, and don’t let anyone or anything steal your joy!

With love,

~Natasha