Tomorrow is a big day. February Apple Watch Challenge will be complete and it’s my Mom’s birthday. Super excited.

This month challenged started with burning 600 calories 23 times this month, midway through the challenge, my calorie burn increased to 720. It has been a struggle, Y’all. As I reflect, though, this challenge puts me in the mindset of how my Mom pushed me. As a kid, I just thought my Mom’s high expectations of me was just to drive me crazy. In reality, she knew every challenge she gave me was just a milestone to confirm she could push me further. She’s half the reason I am so awesome (my Dad is the other half). She saw the potential in me that I still sometimes wrestle to see. Thank you, Mom! LOVE YOU.

Those long 5 AM runs have me thinking about life. Running is weird. I love it and hate it at the same time. The self-reflection when its just Monroe and myself is priceless.

From birth, I was a tough girl. Loved climbing trees, catching frogs, and skateboarding in the Tennessee mountains with my hair in curls wearing a matchy-matchy outfit covered in butterflies and flowers. Once I built a skateboard ramp and it broke mid-jump and shaved a layer of skin from my ankle to my knee. My only concern was how soon would I get back out there.

I bring this up because I use to be very outspoken, afraid of nothing, talked to anyone (even though I stuttered), and loved to show off my smarts and athleticism. However, starting in 4th grade my personality started getting me in trouble. I was bored in class one day because I already knew the information the teacher was going over, so I was explaining to my friend who did not understand what the teacher was going over. The teacher called me out in front of everyone, sent me to the office for a paddling, and I sat alone in the corner because in her words “I thought I knew everything.” I received a paddling almost every year from then until high school either because I was vocal, stood out, asked for respect as a black little girl, or simply was standing up for myself or a stranger.

Society nurtured me to just shut up and be “pretty” and only worry about things that I didn’t care much for but had to pretend, i.e. be boy crazy, love fashion, live for make-up, and being popular/liked. Played the game well. But in the long run it taught me to be agreeable and just be nice. Being nice voided me of a personality for so long. I put my head down and just let life happen to me with thinking I had no real power over who I become. Buddy, things have changed over the last few years. After my divorce, then marrying a person that made me feel completely comfortable being 100% myself, I have blossomed to the person I wished I was in my 20s.

Please go through life boldly and never compromise your self for anyone.

Owning a coffee shop for 2 years and now following my wife to Germany has given me the freedom to truly explore my personal style. I love skinny pants, men’s relaxed fit jeans, and really flowy shirts and dresses always wearing a pair of boots. I only own 3 pairs of pants, 5 jeans, and 20 shirts with 3 sweaters, the rest are workout clothes. What do you do when you’re asked to go to an event with a bunch of professions without looking 10 years younger than my age? I really like how I dress. Simple. At almost 40 it is extremely hard to compromise on my style.

I need to figure out how to mesh up circa 2011-12 personal style when I was 100% career focus with how I am now, full self-expression. Since closing the coffee shop I have vowed not to work anywhere I am not completely into and believe in their mission. Part of that is dressing for the part. Is there really a trade-off in being comfortable in your clothes and getting in the position to make/create change?