June 29, 2012

Facebook Giveaway TODAY ends at 8PM EST


The product of the La NomRah x Vibrant collabo has come. All the fabulous hoops are here for your fashion consumption. Coincidentally the FB fanpage reached 200 at the same time, so as promised I'm sponsoring a giveaway.

Prize: 1 Pair of Tribal Hoops of your choice from any of the designs seen here.

How to enter:
2) Comment on this post sharing 1 thing that you are thankful for today.

That's it! The giveaway ends at 8pm EST today, Friday Jun 29th. So... what are you waiting for? Go! 

Peace & Love





June 24, 2012

Excuse me, will your jewelry turn black? - [via agalil.com]

Hi Lovers,

Some of you may have asked this question before. Here's a thorough piece on what causes modestly priced jewelry to tarnish over time, how to deter tarnishing, and what to look for.

Follow this link: Excuse me, will your jewelry turn black?

Peace & L<3ve

June 7, 2012

Thursday Thankies!!!

This morning I woke up with Q-tip's Gettin' Up on the brain but ran into this first. So taking the guidance from the universe I would like to thank you for making life better. 

If no one has told you today, let me - you are loved, appreciated, and you make life better! 

With an attitude of gratitude, pay it forward and let someone else know today that they are appreciated!

Life is Better - Q-Tip ft. Norah Jones


Peace & Love,


June 4, 2012

La NomRah Designs x Vibrant collabo

Hey lovers!

I hope all is well :). I've been working on some afro-caribbean inspired pieces just for you, (as you have probably seen from the sneak peeks on social media - Facebook & Twitter). I'll upload some pics here soon because I'm really excited for you to see what's in store!

In other fantabulous news, La Nomrah is currently working on a collabo with Vibrant (http://facebook.com/Vibrantbb) a Barbados based jewelry business, run by my friend Dee, which focuses on bringing a Vibrant energy to your wardrobe through accessories.

The possibilities are endless with this array of seed beads!

Our special collabo will consist of some NEW African & Tribal Inspired Large beaded hoops which will be available first to Vibrant customers, and will be available soon after for purchase in the Etsy Store. (View the current designs here).

Remember, these hoops can be customized to a smaller size if you'd prefer. The standard size is 4 inches (large & in charge!) however,  I've had clients order 3.5" and 3" sizes. The smaller the size the more likely the earring will be shaped like a tear drop as opposed to a circle.

Some of the designs currently in the shop will be phased out eventually, and some of the new designs will be available for a limited time only so... get em while you can!

Stay tuned!

Peace & love!

May 11, 2012

La Nomrah Living: Dos Toros NYC Review

As usual, last Monday I spent close to 30 minutes googling restaurants for lunch near my current freelance gig. To say the least, if I don't bring lunch to work with me, finding something to eat can be quite the exercise. I have to have a taste for something, and if I don't... WELP! Watch how quickly thirty minutes can turn into damned near an hour. To make matters worse, purchasing lunch everyday is not the most financially sound decision; not in the heart of Manhattan where one lunch could add up to 3 days worth of train fare... round trip.

In any case Monday was a quick find. I narrowed it down to Maoz (vegetarian felafel spot which I still haven't tried yet, and rumored to be the best felafels in NYC) and Dos Toros Taqueria (burritos, burritos, burritos!!!! Oh... did I mention burritos?). I love any meal that can be housed in a wrap (except your typical wrap sandwich), and Dos Toros came with high recommendation from my co-worker who raved that the burritos "are even better than Chipotle's ... and taste just like the ones from back home [Cali]." That was about all I needed to convince me - not that I needed convincing - especially since my transplanted Californian friends always seem to unsheathe their authentic Mexican cuisine experience on the West coast like the sword of Zorro, and use it to deflate the lowly Chipotle, Qdoba, and bodega offerings of which we East Coasters are forced to partake.*cough* food snobs *cough*

Photo: www.dostoros.com

I made my way to Dos Toros' Union Square location (137 4th Avenue, New York NY 10003) accompanied by my Cali-native friend.  We were right on time! When we arrived we were able to join the line inside the eatery, and a few short minutes later we were seated and devouring our burritos. Not too long after we sat, the line grew magically and snaked outside, and I was glad to be early for something for once in my life! Plus, I was starvin' like Marvin and probably would have passed out from the furor of and overzealous hunger pang had I needed to stand on that line.

I digress... I was impressed (apparently I'm a poet too) - and it wasn't the furious hunger pang speaking.

I ordered a pollo asado (grilled chicken) burrito with black beans, rice, guacamole, cheese, mild salsa and a bit of verde (green & mild) hot sauce. Listen friends ... the rice was yellow! Yellow and flavorful! The burrito wrap was not pasty, cloying or excessively thick or doughy like I have experienced with other burritos from other restaurants that will go unnamed right here (however you can check out Ed Levine's more experienced tete-a-tete dicourse of Dos Toros vs. The Unmentionable *cough* Chipotle *cough* at SeriousEats.com) The pollo asado was seasoned right - there was a nice balance of smoky and spicy .... and the juices! Oh, the juices of that huge ass burrito! The chicken was succulent. The guacamole wasn't fantastical in terms of flavor - nothing to write home about - but it had a smooth enough texture that didn't take away from enjoying the flavor sensation in your mouth.

I wanted to stop myself, I should have. I really should have only eaten half of it, but I couldn't stop myself. I couldn't *hangs head in shame*. It was just too juicy and delicious for me to leave half of it severed and separated from the the other half that made it's whole life worth something.

Photo: www.newyorksocialdiary.com
But seriously, just as impressive as the food is the ingenuity with which the owners of Dos Toros Taqueria have approached social responsibility. All the tables and seating at Dos Toros is made from repurposed wood and other materials. The high stool I sat on was made of repurposed wood for legs, and repurposed leather straps were interwoven and fastened to the wood to form the seat. They looked sturdy enough to bear the weight of the behind that was growing with each bite I took (I speak of my behind). If you check out their website, you'll see that Dos Toros has made a commitment to low impact on the environment through sustainable practices. Read what they say:
  • Our chicken is locally raised, and fed a vegetarian diet with no hormones or antibiotics. For more info go to www.freebirdchicken.com
  • Our pinto and black beans are sourced locally and organically through Cayuga Pure Organics. Check them out at www.cporganics.com.
  • Our utensils, cups, straws, napkins, bags, and Platos are all compostable.
  • We compost our kitchen food waste, and we recycle bottles and cans.
  • All our cleaning products are non toxic, and made from biodegradable plant and mineral based ingredients.
  • Our tables, chairs, and wainscoting are all made from reclaimed or sustainable wood and we used reclaimed tin whenever possible.
In my opinion, Dos Toros is a great example of what social responsibility, sustainability, and ecofriendly living & business can look like when done right. There is a clearly rugged, rustic yet industrial feel to the restaurant however it doesn't feel cold and unwelcoming at all. Actually the vibe is relatively chill, despite what one would expect from the materials used, and the high traffic. They have successfully tapped into the warmer elements of the wood to create an almost homey environment, and the dope ass soundtrack playing in the background further enhances the experience.

Photo taken from www.gastrochic.com
For those of you who would prefer a less diet threatening option, or just dislike the thought of your fixings making sweet burrito love to each other, there are plato (salad), taco, and quesadilla options available, as well as the vegetarian rice & beans, option.

Above all, I love that I left Dos Toros feeling not only that I made a great decision for lunch, but also that I made a great decision for the environment, my environment. So lovers, if you are ever in NYC and looking for a good bang for your buck in every way possible, head on over to Dos Toros. I think the power you will feel from making a socially responsible choice is enough to balance out the guilt of eating an entire Dos Toros burrito... All. At. Once.

Dos Toros gets <3<3<3<3 4 hearts of La NomRah Love.

May 9, 2012

Eco friendly Black & Gold Mosaic Aida Studs

Eco friendly Black & Gold Mosaic Aida Studs
These ecofriendly studs are cut from denim and covered in hand cut flock and nuggets of gold glitz. Perfect for the glam fashionista! Can be worn two ways!

eCo-Vert! Aida Studs
Picture: Gold on Black
Light weight

I named this design Aida because something about these earrings bring out the regal qualities within you. Aida studs make you feel worthy of being loved by the likes of royalty... because you are a queen!

Also Available in Silver. Limited number available in Gold or Silver.

Also available in combos of any 2: Turquoise, White, Green, Red, Navy Blue, Black, Purple, Royal Blue, Grey.

The Aida studs featured are red on the back side. At checkout message include what color you would like the back of your Aida's to be.

All eCo-Vert! designs are Handmade from recycled/reused/upcycled denim, ecofilm and flock.

*Please read shipping gudelines and store policy before purchasing.

 *Made to Order. Convo me for details/ enquiries on a custom order! 

Have any questions? Contact the shop owner.

May 8, 2012

Thought for the Day

"We are, to ourselves, the most valuable possession we have. We must value our ideas, our energy, our time and our life to such an infinite degree that we become unwilling to waste who we are."
- Iyanla Vanzant

May 4, 2012

Elegant Trapeze Dangle Earring in Genuine Black agate, Red Coral or Green Coral - Isoscelea

4 inch Green Isoscelea Elegant Trapeze Dangle Earring

Isoscelea is simple & elegant. An arrangement of genuine black agate, turquoise, green coral or red coral hangs from a length of gold-plated chain. The name is a play on the shape the design creates.

Isoscelea's comes in the following lengths (including eawire): 4 inches, 3.5 inches, 3 inches & 2.5 inches. Standard default length is 3.5 inches.

Lengths shown are 4 inch - green coral, 3 inch - red coral.

3 inch Red Coral Isoscelea Elegant Trapeze Dangle

Black Agate Isoscelea Elegant Trapeze Dangle

Also available with silver plated chain.

Isoscelea is US $24.00

Please specify length in "message to seller" when ordering. Otherwise, 3.5 in. length will be sent.

Hypoallergenic gold earwire.

*Please read Store & Shipping policies before purchasing.

*Convo/ message for questions about international shipping enquiries or custom orders.

Other Semi-precious gems and stone

Thank you!

May 2, 2012

7 Day Affirmation Challenge Round 2

Hey Lovers!

I wanted to check in with you to see how the affirmation challenge worked for you. I hope you weren't too hard on yourselves with the challenge. Let's be honest... it's hard as hell to fit something extra into an already packed daily routine, so if you forgot about it one day it's ok. If you hit 3 out of 7 days or even just one day out of 7, that's a start. Give yourself credit!

I'll be repeating the challenge again this week. My goal is to make daily affirmations second nature, so I'm making the theory that it takes 30-days to form a habit work for me... one week at a time.

Below are a few of my daily affirmations, feel free to use any of them that work for you as well:

"I focus on what I want with gratitude and faith that it is already there."

"When I see it and feel it, it manifests with the greatest of ease."

"I become that which I desire to attract."

"My thoughts become things."

"Peace and joy are present in me at all times."

"My light is contagious."

and my favorite,

"Abundance flows into my life in surprising and miraculous ways everyday."

April 27, 2012

Crafty Sellers...

If you are an artist of any sort, or have tapped into your creative side as a means of income, this meme by Handmadeology.com is some hilariously accurate stuff. LOL!

from www.handmadeology.com

April 24, 2012

7 Day Affirmation Challenge Check-in

Hi Lovers!

In case you need some help with creating your affirmations for the 7 Day Affirmation Challenge, here's an excellent video from The Secret camp that contains personal affirmations. feel free to visit their YouTube page, and enjoy.

How are your daily affirmations coming along??

April 23, 2012


Hi Lovers,

I hope all is well with you! The last year or two have been difficult for almost everyone I know in one way or another. However, what we all seem to be in general agreement about for this year is that 2012 is the year of betterment, progress, success and accomplishment. This is the year that a positive attitude, stick-to-it-iveness, and hard work join forces and make all your dreams a reality.

So today I want to share with you an affirmation challenge that my bff (entrepreneur at Fierce.12 ) came up with to propel our progress.  It’s simple and easy to begin with – a week only requires 7 days of commitment – so I urge you to tweak it to fit your needs or schedule for the week, as in this case what is most important is that it works for you.

We chose a week to pace ourselves. I am often guilty of overextending myself and jumping in head first and trying to do too much too soon. But what I have learnt is that it is important to be ambitious but also be realistic in an optimistic way. Yes, step out of your comfort zone and push beyond the limit, but in a situation where small victories lead to big success it is important to know how to set yourself up to win. So here goes:

  • Write/create 10 positive affirmations about your life –  career, business, relationships, goals, etc.
Positive affirmations are positive present tense statements. A good way to start is to imagine life or a certain aspect of your life the way it would be and how you would feel, once certain goals are reached. Think about things that you wish to improve upon and goals that you are working towards right now. Write a statement that embodies a truth about that future state you wish to be in. e.g. If you are shy or sometimes suffer from social anxiety and would like to be more outgoing, your affirmation may look something like “I am a joy to be around” or “People are drawn to my energy and find me interesting.” If financial success or independence are goals you wish to have in the future (whether through business, or more responsible personal financial behavior) your affirmation may look something like “I am a money magnet!” or “My wealth lasts generations beyond me.” 

  • Make your affirmations visible and easily accessible.
It’s the power of paper/hard copy. Print your affirmations and tape ‘em to the wall, next to the bathroom mirror, save ‘em to your smart phone notes app, or email them to yourself.  A good tip is to set an alarm on your phone reminding you to read your affirmations.

  • Each day, take the time to recite and visualize/meditate on your affirmations. 
I promise it’s not as hard as it sounds. This doesn’t require an hour, half hour, or even 15 mins of your day. You can take as little as 5 mins and attribute 30 secs to each affirmation (I’ll be doing the 5 min focus). If this is too much for you, feel free to tweak it. However, I highly recommend that you allot at least those 5 mins to visualize, or recite the affirmations. Why? It’s great to recite the affirmations and even commit them to memory, but visualizing is great because it can function as a sensory road map for your goals. When you really get into the process of feeling what it would be like to be where you want to be, to the point where you can almost taste how real it is, it connects the rest of your energy to what is happening in your mind.
Tip 1: My bff recommends twice a day: once first thing in the morning, and again the last thing before bed.
Tip 2: If a number of your affirmations are focused on building self esteem, confidence, or decreasing social anxiety, try reciting your affirmations while looking into the mirror. During the morning grooming process is a really good time – two birds with one stone ;-). 

  •  Invite someone to participate in the challenge. 
Share affirmations with each other, and check in once a day, like a buddy, to see how it’s coming along or just to remind them of their commitment to the challenge.

When the week is up you can challenge yourself to continue for another week if you so desire. They say it takes 28-30 days to form a habit, and this is as good a habit as any to form.

My buddies and I are starting the challenge today Monday April 23, 2012. Feel free to start along with us or on any day you choose. If you decide to participate comment below and let us know, and share one of your affirmations if you so desire.

Peace & Love,


April 18, 2012

Beetle Juice! Beetle Juice! Beetle Juice!

Hi Lovers,

As I have mentioned in a previous post, where I profiled the fabulosity of Ka'oir cosmetics, I love a vibrant lip color. One can never go wrong with the classic look of a vivacious red, the flirtatious nature of a pretty pink, or the sultriness of a bordeaux shade. Regardless of one's skin tone there is a perfect shade of red (or any other color for that matter) out there for you.

In the past few months, however, cosmetic fanatics have been thrust into a sea of panic as studies revealed that some of our most beloved brands of lipsticks contained a significant enough amount of lead to cause the FDA to publish an extensive list detailing the quantity of lead in each of the 400 guilty perps.

What to do? Throw them all away and start from scratch? For some that is definitely a solution, but for others that may just not even make the list of options - however silly it may seem  that risking one's health comes second only to your favorite lippy.

So many of us buried our heads in the sand and pressed on with the rougiest of lips for the sake of fashion (I didn't bury my head but I damn sure wasn't about to sacrifice my perfect red lip! *hangs head in shame*), but then a few weeks ago came the great hullabullo over an ingredient used to put the "berry" color in Starbucks' strawberry flavored beverages....

April 16, 2012

"AFROS" - 'A Celebration Of Natural Hair' A Photo & Lifestyle Book

I came across a post about this project online. By the time this is posted there will be 3 days left in the Kick Starter campaign. This project is very important as an honest and artistic look into a very significant aspect of black culture - hair. I have posted the video for your viewing pleasure and some copy from the Kick Starter page for a more in depth look into the process behind the project.

Watch the video and show some support by donating or simply just spreading the word!

"AFROS" - 'A Celebration Of Natural Hair' A Photo & Lifestyle Book  
Watch for a quick look at the dopeness! 


"AFROS" - 'A Celebration Of Natural Hair' A Photo & Lifestyle Book

A coffee table book project by Michael July
This is a book that captures the spirit and essence of the Afro today as well as paying homage to the historic significance of natural hair iconic voyagers like Angela Davis, Jimi Hendrix and others. Over the course of a five year period photographer Michael July approached a wide variety of beautiful, creative and intelligent individuals from all walks of life and asked them would they be willing to participate as subject models for a coffee table book he was putting together entitled "Afros - A Celebration Of Natural Hair". Traveling all across the United States from New York to California he was able to capture the créme de la créme of Afros. People of virtually every shade, ethnicity, country and age group. "AFROS - A Celebration Of Natural Hair" intent is to show pictorially the power, beauty and glorious nature of the 'Fro and also to document in words the deeper and at times whimsical "hairstory" of each of its models. The author shot the majority of these individuals at his photo studio in Brooklyn using colorful & vibrant backdrops personally tailored to each model's own sense of style and fashion. As a result he succeeded, along with the assistance of two remarkably talented book designers, Darhil Crooks & Monica Whittick in creating a coffee table book that will have massive international appeal for many years to come.
The money raised through Kickstarter pledges will all go toward printing and shipping costs. Once the project has been successfully funded we will immediately go to press and you can expect your copy to ship in July -- a great way to kick off Summer!
A word from Michael July:
   Just wanted to give you some information about myself and the Afro Book project. I am a freelance professional photographer and writer whom over the years worked with Giant Step, Essence, Okay Player, Urb and other publications. I'm in the final stage of completing a book "AFROS" - 'A Celebration of Natural Hair'. The basics of the book is to capture the essence of the Afro or "natural" as it exists in today's culture. In addition to photos, the book contains quotes from each individual on why they choose to wear their hair natural and/or what does natural hair mean to them, their occupation & where they hail from as well as researched information regarding the history of the Afro. There will be archival sections that will feature vintage Afro picks, combs, rakes, natural hair care products, Afro inspired artwork, and a directory of some of the most popular blogs and sites related to natural hair world-wide. The book will contains 450 pages. So far I have people like Toure, Renee Neufville, Dr. Cornel West, Celia Faussart of Les Nubians, Michaela angela Davis, Cherokee, Jesse Boykins III, Cody ChesnuTT and Reggie Watts and hundreds of other beautiful folks. The progress of the coffee table book has been turning out incredibly well. Primarily it was shot in the metropolitan area of New York, but I have also shot across the country in places like Atlanta, D.C., Philly, California, New Jersey, Miami & Maryland.

   I have been doing photography for about 7 years, 6 years professionally. Primarily concerts, fashion shows, portfolios & whatever interests me. Prior to that I was doing the same thing but with video. I am based out of Brooklyn, NY where I have a full photography studio. Ideally I prefer to capture people as they are, that is as naturally as possible. Although with most of the book's models I was able to do something far more colorful and creative.
   After 5 and a half years of shooting I have over 240 subjects. People of all nationalities: African-Americans, Asians, Caucasians, Africans, South Americans & Europeans. From the ages of 8 months to 80 years old. I was fortunate to work with two extremely experienced and respected book designers, Darhil Crooks, Creative Director of Ebony Magazine and Monica Whittick of Big Blu Design, Inc., on the layout, design & formatting of the book. As well as a great copy editor, Angela Watford of Eyes Dotted, formally with Vibe Media Group. I'm in the final editing stages now and expect to go to print in April. The book is now 99% finished and ready for print. I have a tentative release date targeted for mid June 2012. I will be self-publishing the book through Natural Light Press. I do have an extensive background in artist management, public relations, sales, promotion and marketing. I have already received a large number of offers from across the the United States and abroad to do book launches, signings, speaking engagements and exhibitions at universities, bookstores, galleries, museums, hair shows, public schools, festivals and hair salons. I'm looking forward to doing an extensive promotional tour in the United States and Canada for the first year and then to tour overseas for at least 6 months beginning at the end of 2012. All of these contacts have only been through word of mouth since I only recently created my first internet presence: a facebook page. Next month I will begin putting together an official website for the book.
 How I am doing this:  I am looking through Kickstarter to raise $20,000 in total towards the printing and binding of the actual book. This will supplement some of the money I have manage to save. Once that goal is reached in April, I will travel overseas to personally oversee the printing of the first 4000 to 5000 copies of the book. This is generally a 2 to 3 month process before the book is delivered to the USA. This will be a self-published 9" x 12", 450 page full-color photographic book. I have recently received an offer from a major photo book distributor to distribute and launch the book at their mega bookstore & gallery space once the printing is completed which I am considering.
My long term goal:
By creating this book my hope is to show how beautiful and diverse natural hair is and that it should be embraced and celebrated by everyone worldwide whether they choose to wear theirs natural or not. My true target audience are young people who struggle with their self-identity because of negative media messages, peer pressure and lack of natural role models. That through these pages they may be encourage to see and accept their own individual God-given beauty and hopefully a more positive and wholesome identity. Your donation will go towards that goal.

April 6, 2012

Ecofriendly Silver & Black Mosaic Lightning Bolt Earrings - Boombastic by LaNomRahDesigns

 You can call these babies Boombastic!
Eco friendly Boombastic studs in Silver on Black

Silver recycled glitz nuggets are laid onto upcycled plush black flock patchwork for a blinged out effect and texture.

Be the bomb... like "tick tick" in these.

Approximately 4.5 inches in length. Hypo-allergenic stainless steel posts.

Also available in Gold & Black.

Flock has a soft, plush texture similar to velvet so one can just run a lint roller over the earrings to remove any lint before wearing or store them in a re-sealable bag.

 More glitz options available:
- Glitzy gold on black
- Glitzy pink, glitzy green, glitzy blue
- Glitzy red  

*Please read shipping gudelines and store policy
before purchasing.

*Made to Order. Convo me for details/ enquiries on a custom order! 

April 2, 2012

Genuine Turquoise Hoop Dangle Earrings with Green, Orange, Black & White Beads Tribal Inspired

Colorful Turquoise Hoops inspired by Ankara cloth.
Green frosted seed beads are accented by orange, white and black seed beads and envelop a row of genuine turquoise cube beads.

Large beautiful beaded hoops go great with everything! Excellent for adding that splash of color to any outfit!

 Earrings will hang about 4 inches including earwire - Large and in charge. 

This listing is for 1 PAIR.

Hypo allergenic earwires. Earwires are either gunmetal, sterling silver plated or gold plated. Sterling silver plated and gold plated earwire may tarnish over time. Maintain with jewelry cloth.

*Convo/ message for international shipping enquiries.

*Please read shipping gudelines and store policy before purchasing. 

Click through for other beaded designs by La NomRah

March 28, 2012

Eco Friendly Teardrop Dangle Earrings Glitzy Red on Black Vinyl - Galactic

Claim your elegant futuristic flow with the Galactica Teardrops! Glitzy red nuggets dance in the light against the black vinyl background.

These ecofriendly earrings are made using upcycled denim, and by my unique hands-on process of overlaying and application. 100% recycled materials except the gunmetal ring and the hypoallergenic earwire. Lightweight and easy on the lobe.

The back side of the earrings are covered in a black flock overlay (not identical) making earrings comfortable to wear. 

Teardrops will hang about 3 inches including the earwire.

Flock like velvet, may attract lint but may be maintined by storing in an airtight container or with use of a lint brush before wear.

Also available: 
Glitzy gold  
- Glitzy silver, glitzy pink, glitzy green, glitzy blue (seen here)

*Please read shipping gudelines and store policy
before purchasing.

*Made to Order. Convo me for details/ enquiries on a custom order! 

March 12, 2012

#NowListening - Quadron

I have to credit Melo-X's last release More Merch, for putting me onto Quadron on his song titled Heartbeat, in which he does his thing and spices it up the God way, spits his lyrics etc. My only beef is that there are few songs that Melo-X has remixed that I prefer the original to the Melo-X version.

I guess that is called beautiful ruination.. I can live with it.


March 7, 2012

This is my Confession... Kinda

Hi Lovers!

I hope all is well and you are feeling fabulous for 2012. It has been way too long since I posted here and I wanted to share why – as a way to keep myself in check, a cathartic experience, and because I love you all.

I’ve spent too much time tinkering with this post but I have to just let it flow. Bear with me.

For the past 7 months I have been present and absent all at once. I have, admittedly, neglected my business with La NomRah to some degree. I haven’t designed or created anything new in these past six months. I’ve thought about all the things I wanted to do, steps I wanted to take and projects I wanted to complete but I simply could not manage the personal demands and demands of business the way I had imagined I’d be able to.

In October 2011 I relocated temporarily. It was something I knew I’d have to do; actually I volunteered to do it. Yet still it was a surprise. It wasn’t a choice to relocate that comes when you fall in love with a person or place and envision a picture perfect life there for the rest of your existence. No.
The opinion of some involved was that I wasn’t “employed” so I was a best fit to go to MD. My opinion was that since I could travel with my business, going to MD to help however I could was a no-brainer.
So I moved to Maryland to care for my aunt who was diagnosed with a rare case of MALT (mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue) Lymphoma, a non- Hodgkins Lymphoma, a form of cancer.

MALT is so named because it typically manifests as an infection of the mucosal tissue that lines many organs in the body, commonly caused by a particular bacteria, and most commonly occurring in the stomach. It may also affect the lungs, thyroid, bowels, salivary gland. Bacteria induced MALT may be treatable with a course of certain antibiotics. MALT also typically manifests in a particular area, almost like a cluster. (Source)

Being my aunt of course she had to go breaking all the rules. Her case was rare because:
·         at 42 she was way younger than the typical age of onset , 60.  
·          My aunt’s manifestation of MALT was not the typical kind caused by H. Pylori bacteria and so was unresponsive to antibiotic treatments.
·         My aunt’s case of MALT did not just manifest in the stomach, she also had cancerous areas show up in her intestines.

When she first called and told us of her diagnosis I remember sitting for hours on the toilet, staring into space, with “Why?” on repeat in my mind. I sat on the toilet for so long that I lost all feeling in my ass cheeks. 
Any one close to me will attest that I am not the crying type, but I was crying myself to sleep at night, bursting into silent tears behind my sunglasses on NYC public transportation while listening to Jay-Z and Kanye rap about their hip hop opulence; and there I was sitting on my friend’s stoop one sunny summer afternoon on a quiet street in Harlem ugly crying . . . in front of him. Real. Visible. Tears. Sobbing. Runny nose. And worst of all no tissue.

To say the least I was having a hard time of it, and yet weeks passed before I was able to bring myself to call my aunt, to simply ask “How are you?”

It sounds selfish, and it was. This fact was something that I was able to acknowledge once I moved to Maryland. I watched as something that was happening to one of us, became something that was happening to all of us. We (my uncles, mother, cousins, and I) were each trying to work out how we were going to deal with this individually..

What I later realized was that this selfish reaction was to be the first in a long list of “Things they never tell you about Cancer” (a whole other blog in itself).

Ultimately it is the fragility of life, a bitter pill that is hard to swallow, that is plastered across your everything and forced down your throat. You start to think of death as a real thing… not just something that happens to someone else, or another family,

The mental process was difficult for me. I’ve always been the person who never asked for help; the one who was skeptical of expressions of empathy that come across as pity. Neither of these attitudes helped as I opened up to people who tried to be supportive.

I was angry. Just mad as hell! When you say, “my loved one was recently diagnosed with cancer.” And someone responds with “I’m sorry, (insert more apologetic /sympathetic/empathetic/pity speech here” what does that really do for your loved one? How does that actually concretely fix your situation? Well that’s what internalized anger and frustration sometimes looks like – internalized passive aggressive thought at its finest.

I observed that while we as a family were eventually able to come together to form a band of support for and around my aunt, and each other, this joining forces (almost like an episode of Captain Planet) was only able to happen when we got a grasp of the bigger picture - that dwelling on things we have no control over was not just pointless, but counterproductive.

Anger doesn’t allow you to accept all the love and support that may be there for you because you are so wrapped up in being mad. Looking for someone to blame is always an option, but when that person doesn’t exist… what then?

I’ve learned plenty about myself and my family as individuals and as a unit over these past few months. Not to be cliché but we are closer now than ever; still a family with ups and downs, but closer none the less.

If I had to tell you anything I learned from this experience it would be:

·         We are all stronger and capable of way more than we give ourselves credit for.
·         Do not wait until a tragedy or illness to reconnect with loved ones. Pick up the phone and just call.
·         Self-care is of the utmost importance! You cannot be there for others if you yourself are not well
·         Find at least 1 thing to be grateful for everyday. Then, thank the Universe/Source/God for that thing.
My aunt just had her follow up surgeries done a week ago and soon enough we’ll know for sure if the chemotherapy was successful.
In the meantime I’ll do what I can …maintaining a positive attitude about the outcome.

February 7, 2012


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