7 Steps of Teaching a Kick Ass Fitness Class

According to me, fitness is a cure-all to life. No other place requires you put yourself first in order to succeed. Add music and the tension of life disappears. Incorporate the bonus of dancing and you have officially entered haven! This literally was my way of life while living in Miami & when I got to Vegas, I couldn’t deal with the idea of living without. But when I got the opportunity to teach, I was freakin out on the inside, and that ain’t cool.Life is full of lessons and here are the ones I learned to master my classes.e, fitness is a cure-all to life. No other place requires you put yourself first in order to succeed. Add music and the tension of life disappears. Incorporate the bonus of dancing and you have officially entered haven! This literally was my way of life while living in Miami & when I got to Vegas, I couldn’t deal with the idea of living without. But when I got the opportunity to teach, I was freakin out on the inside, and that ain’t cool.Life is full of lessons and here are the ones I learned to master my classes.

1) Breathe fitness blog 2

So your teaching your 1st class. You’ve practiced your routine 20 times a day, you know your moves and your pumped! Your clients enter the studio, line up & they’re staring at you.Meanwhile,you’re frozen thinking, what did I get myself into? Breathe. Deep breath in through your nose, out through your mouth. I promise you’ll instantly calm you. Say kind things to yourself and remember you are serving a huge purpose. You got this!

2) Know Ur Ish Fitness blog 3

To know is to understand. Most of what I teach, I learned through countless YouTube videos. The videos I saw didn’t explain the movement, they just moved. I remembered what it took for me to understand that move and explain it that way to my clients. Rule of thumb: If it was a light bulb moment for you, it will be that for others too.

3) Music fitness blog 8

So your at the club and the DJ is playin ALLL of your faves then he plays that one joint and instantly your feet hurt, you need a drink or you wanna leave.No, you didn’t instantly get tired, thirsty or partied out. Music has power! All dope things in life have a soundtrack. Here’s the process I use when I create mine.

 a. find a song that makes me feel something.

I need to feel the song at least emotionally & physically. Every once in a while, it touches my spirit. Listen to the beat, hear the lyrics and respond to the message. Booties jump like basketballs in my classes when we do the “Flawless” routine by Beyonce. Glutes have a mind of their own when Wale’s “MFS” is blaring & baayybeee, we gets it in when Soulja Boy’s “Donk” is played. It’s the perfect atmosphere to embrace & release your alter-ego and go INNN!

b. Play it in the car

If I hear the song in the car and I fall deeper in love with the track, oh it’s a keeper Pal! The acoustics in the car are like no other, in my modest opinion. If u liked it out, loved it in the car then your students will love it in class. Promise.

c. Make a routine to it

Most times, I do b & c at the same time. I admit to bein the crazy lookin woman driving in the car, smiling from ear to ear, singing her lil heart out and dancing like no one is watching. You may ask why, but I’m asking why not? That’s why the artist created the song so make it do what it does!

4) Organized Playlist fitness blog 4

Having the songs arranged in a playlist the way you want it to flow in class is a BIG DEAL! This keeps everyone in the groove, keeps the momentum and heart rate up and creates a flow. Now, I’m guilty of breaking my own rules. My playlist is massive so each class is taught according to my mood. I tested this theory out in 1 of my classes and I got the best response, both verbally and physically, from my clients. Everyone likes to be in the flow.

5) Move Around fitness blog 5

Instructing fitness classes doesn’t have to feel like your teaching an academic class. Standing in front is ideal to introduce movements, but when it’s time to get into it, move around! Stand next to different people. Hang out in the back. This encourages people to pay attention to themselves as opposed to comparing themselves to you. It also creates an unspoken understanding that we are all on the same journey & keeps things fun and light.

6) Be Yourself fitness blog 6

Fitness has the reputation of being super serious and redundant. I focus on revealing the fun side & I’d suggest this to anyone asking. I’m silly. I LOVE what I do and I appreciate my clients for giving me their time. I joke. I’m silly. I make up my own words & phrases. I have my serious PSAs but I smile while I’m giving them b/c I love my clients. Let your clients meet you and enjoy your company. You just may be the only 1 that smiled with them all day.

7) Be Encouraging & Express Gratitude fitness blog 7

Twerk Fitness can be an intimidating format both to teach and to learn. I remind my clients I didn’t create these moves! This opens their minds to learn & not feel intimidated. Say what you wish someone would’ve said to you. Teach the way you learn. Inspire them by constantly advocating for the simplicity of your specific technique. Gratitude is contagious, so don’t only encourage it with others but require it of yourself. I used to bully myself mentally & now in times of distress, I talk to myself like a 2 yr old w/love, compassion and encouragement. Thank your clients for their time before and after class and congratulate them on their progress as often as you see fit.

Follow these tips to instruct a killer fitness class on all levels and let me know how it went. Don’t skim on the details people. Until next time.

#TwerkOutWorkOut Vids Online Rental Journey..7 Steps Of How I Got Out My Own Way

So, I finally have Twerk Out Work Out videos for rent on-line, but what tha hell took so long? Well, what had happened was… Ummm, I was too busy being busy, being really mean to me, flooding myself with self doubt and making myself sick. Now that’s some raw truth for yo ass! Here’s my 17 month journey on how I got over myself and instead, learned to believe in myself.

   As you know, I’m the creator and instructor of Twerk Out Work Out. I created this company in Vegas, (where I live) but I’m from Chicago and lived in Miami for a while. People all over the place have been asking me to post videos. I made a couple, put em out there via YouTube and heard crickets! I didn’t understand I was lacking technology knowledge (how to make my Galaxy 2 work for me), a following (still learning about that now), I was over thinking so much, I’m all stiff in these videos (I looked a hot mess!). Look, don’t judge me. I’ve come a long way and here’s a lil video to prove it! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InDVSg3gM6c)

Lesson 1: Be the Boss You Know Your Are

The number 1 wrong move I made was pouring my emotions into the judgments of others. I had to learn, it’s none of MY business what OTHERS think of me. I caught HELL for having a fitness class that involved twerking! I created a whole philosophy behind my creation before I created a name. Bad experiences of people speaking ill over my concept created a very guarded me. Negative thoughts caused a super stiff body when recording. I had to learn that obsessively focusing on combating negativity was drawing it to me. I felt shame in my limited resources. I had to learn how to make my resources work more effectively and take pride in that. I YouTube so much stuff, but so what! Take in what’s out there, but never change your package to anything that’s not you! .#KnoLikeUKnoLikeUKno

   I’m still in the new stages of teaching my class, but I see some major issues. My class has NO structure! I’m just doing random dances that make me feel good, but no one else knew a.) what the hell I was doing b.) how the hell to do it. I’m asking my clients for feedback and the crickets are louder than they were! So then I knew what I had to do.

Lesson 2: Become Structured

People go to fitness classes to be led, so lead em! This was my 1st time teaching (although I claimed otherwise in my interview), but I quickly learned the importance of teaching clients to count music, count steps, explaining what muscles were moving and which weren’t. Then, I challenged myself by taking those skills to the next level & I created routines. My regulars LOVED this because they could just hop on in and get it! #GetItGirl

More time goes by,and a sweet young lady from New Orleans finds my class. To describe my friend as a God-Send would be an understatement. When I met her, I was lost, uninspired and unmotivated.. Shortly after she came, things REALLY started to get fun! I found a family oriented young black profession who understood the value in twerking for fitness. She got my vision, appreciated what I was teaching and taught me a number of things. More than that, she believed in me which allowed me to start believing in myself too.

Lesson 3: CONNECT

Building your own business is no cake walk. Everyone can’t be trusted and you must protect your ideas and products like you would your children BUT connect with others, in spite of that. I’ve learned, what’s for me, is for me. If you get cool with a client, run some ideas past them. Family and friends are great means for a support system, but they can’t offer first hand insight like a client can. Ya never know what your new buddy’s insight may lead you to discover. #Holla@ThaPeople

Within 2 week of us meeting, she was helping me. Her hubby was recording the majority of the videos, our children hit it off and played together, I was building a support team. We worked during any free time we had. A lot of the recordings were done RIGHT after I hosted a class. I’m very hands on, so a lot of the time, I was exhausted. In spite of my exhaustion, I was so excited and eager to make the videos. Recording via cell phones presented it’s challenges, but what are ya gonna do?!?  I’m not an editing wiz, so I didn’t/don’t know how to edit that stuff out. (I know a lil somethin for Windows Movie Maker but if you know more, holla at ya girl!) Anyhow, that’s the story behind our babies darting in front of us while we were recording. I felt ashamed, as a professional, because I have to go from Twerk Fitness Instructor to Mommy. How was my online community gonna receive that!?!

Lesson 4: Have No Shame In Shuffling Hats

I don’t know ANYONE who is just 1 thing. Just a student, a son, a lawyer, so chill. Recognize your circumstances, make them work and don’t allow shame to crowd your space.I work a lot, so I bring my babies to work with me. They workout with my class, disrupt my lesson for hugs, kisses, money, whatever. It’s annoying sometimes but I just remember, I’m a mom & anyone witnessing this probably can relate. Also, don’t let your lack of certified titles discredit you. I’m not a professional dancer, but so what! I’m good at what I do and I’ve taught hundreds women.I go to other classes and pick up tips. When I can’t get out, YouTube, Google, Yahoo are always there to rescue me. Make sure you use em too.That’s why they’re there! ;). #That’sWhatIt’sMade4

Ok, so now I have a fitness class, I have routines, I have a support group and I’m making videos. My new problem was I wasn’t happy with my body. I’m not a licensed nor certified Dietitian and didn’t really understand about my diet and lifestyle effected my body. I had a little pudge in my gut, arms were small but not defined, had a lil cottage cheese in my thighs and booty, butt wasn’t up high and swole (I wanted to be sluggin. That’s when you got so much booty, it  drags the floor) All in all, I didn’t look like Serena Williams, and I felt that I should!

Lesson 5: Teach Yourself Your Lessons First

When I look at pics of myself in the beginning, I had a cute lil shape. I could improve a few things, but my man was happy. I had to understand the importance of implementing healthy eating habits, valuable seeds (like Chai and Flax), products, healthy snacks, what to drink and why. I had to learn how to build the body I wanted which was informing me of how to care for myself. This became my life, but I still saw myself the same way I did when I began. So, word to the wise, if your a fitness professional, that’s hella hard on yourself (like I was), listen to the people! Others saw my progress way before I did, which forced me to open my eyes and be more kind to myself. (I was tearin myself a new one at least 12 times a day, minimum). #NoNoNotNice

I was not in the best health. I just had 2 hernias corrected about 2 1/2 weeks ago. I was wondering why some days, my stomach was perfectly flat, then all of a sudden, my stomach was swollen. I was tired, had little to no energy, little to no appetite, constant headache, issues digesting food when I did eat. At one point, my upper belly (home of my hiatal hernia) distended about 4 inches from my stomach after hanging out on a Friday night. I went to bed (on my stomach, my fave position) and STILL went to work the next day. Now, I know that that’s simply crazy now, but I didn’t recognize that then. On top of that, this summer,I had my IUD laparoscopically removed in June and I have Endometriosis (for 20 yrs now). I don’t let pain paralyze me, but now I’m learning to take time out for myself.

Lesson 6: Put Yourself First!

A few years back, I was going through some extremely tough times and a mutual friend of my boyfriend and I gave me the most illogical advice, at the time. He said “put yourself 1st, so you’ll be able to be there for others.” I’m like fool, how does THAT make sense? Now I get it! Rest, eat, pray, read, make time for yourself. When being informed of my 2 Hernias, I was told 1 was caused by an Ulcer. Of course it was! I tried my best to be everything for everyone else. I had nothing left for myself and I never took a minute or two to re-boot. Don’t make the same mistakes I did. #StressKills

Add to the equation that I’m a full time mother of 2 children, I’m a co-hostess on Needle On The Record, I go to events, meetings, work… Pretty much I was too busy to help my damn self! Then, the random times I did get the nerve to post videos, I was so distracted from the imperfection I saw in myself, I wasn’t comfortable with releasing my work.

Lesson 7: Prioritize

I was doing the most! Starting my own company, assisting my mom with starting up hers, being a mom, girlfriend, friend, sister, aunt and everything else I am. I was burning both sides of the candle and the middle! I had to shake the shit out of myself and Focus! I made a list of all of my duties, highlighting the level of importance. I focused on what I wanted the outcome to be, listed my accomplishments so far and that led me to what I should be doing at that time. I had to learn that Twerk N Tone is my priority. I contribute to Needle On The Record and still fulfill my responsibilities. I’m still on mommy duty and fulfilling my other roles. Work has a cut-off time, I’m working on not overbooking my schedule and because I did that, my time with my children is much more enjoyable for everyone. Also, I had to look at the mistakes I made in older videos and feel pride. I’ve come a LONG WAY! Allow your previous self to remind you of the progress you have made. #YAYU

So I did it! I’m so happy and proud of this achievement. I feel so liberated and free because I did the work so now I’ve just closed my eyes and jumped! If you want to learn to twerk (for whatever reason), need a new fun workout or just wanna see the fruits o my labor, click the link https://www.connectpal.com/twerk-out-work-out-twerk-n-tone-twerk-fitness-services. Now bear in mind, I’m a work in progress. I’ve worked for the body I have now and I’m constantly perfecting the techniques I teach. The videos posted is raw footage and includes bloopers, kids running around, maybe a few cuss words. I think it also serves as a reminder, that 1. My business is a work in progress 2. I never get a day off in Mommy-hood 3. I started somewhere.Added bonus,u get to join me & I’m so happy about that! #FreeFallin

Recap: The Takeaway

Now you know my foolish mistakes and how I corrected them. Own your idea/product no matter what, have a method to your madness, connect with your clients, be proud of your other titles, learn the lessons you teach, prioritize baby! There’s beauty in the process of creation because of the flaws, fun and growth. Embrace it. I know I am (finally, lol). Now, I gotta be nosy… What are your hang ups with fitness, if any? Have you tried a Twerk Fitness Class? Would you; why or why not? Don’t be shy,let a sista know!

xoxo

Angela Marie

Angela Marie… Who is She!?!

iHeart Vegas, Summer 2014

So hi! I’m Angela Marie and I’m the co-hostess of Needle On The Record (a blog talk radio show) and the Creator and Instructor of Twerk Out Work Out and Twerk N Tone Inc. (Twerk fitness classes in Vegas). I’m also a mommy of 5 beautiful children and long time girlfriend to my Luvah-Man. I’m a Native Chicagoan, but now live in Vegas. I lived in Miami for a few years as well.

My mother, Angela Thomas is the creator of Needle on the Record, which is a radio show focused on all things music, music events, pop culture and reality TV. My mom has worked in the music business for 20+ years & although I can’t sing a lick, I do have a deep appreciation for music and an opinion. My mom has always flirted with the idea of starting a show and when I moved back to Vegas, I encouraged her to move forth with the idea and volunteered to work with her to make that happen. My blog is my truthful place, so I won’t lie and say that it always easy, fun or rewarding to work with your mom, but it has allowed me to be closer with her. Our personalities are SOOO similar so we have had some EPIC fights but, we’ve also made some epic achievements (like covering iHeart this Summer, Soul Train Awards 3 yrs in a row, Steve Harvey Awards 4 yrs in a row, Tamar Love and War Tour, Marsha Ambrosius Friends and Lovers Tour, to name a few)! The best part is being an active part of watching my mom’s dreams come true!

Now, I went over the reason for the season of why I created Twerk Out Work Out (TOWO) in the blog called “Why Twerking”. I would have to say I created TOWO because I felt like I was introduced to another part of myself when I learned the twerk dances in Miami. I was going through A LOT (I honestly, don’t know if I’ll ever be able to share the details of that part of my life) and twerking/fitness literally saved me from myself. I teach it to others for a number of reasons. 1) So people can learn 2) To lead people to better, healthier lives  3)To help myself 4) Keep in shape 5) To stay in tune with the part of me that ONLY comes out when I dance. I have helped hundreds of people in the Las Vegas area, and a few people in other parts of the country via my classes or my videos. A number of my clients have told me that working with me has gotten them off meds, as they had Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, obesity and that is worth all the treasure in the world to me. THAT is why I do it!

I’m a certified Paralegal and I have a degree in Psychology. I got certified in Paralegal studies (with special training in Tort and Contract Law) in an effort to please my family and search for a lucrative career. I’d just had my daughter (about a year prior) and I felt like I was under-accomplished. I found 1 job as an independent contractor doing property research, which had NOTHING to do with my training. It was a fun job though, lol. Fast forward about 4 yrs, while living in Miami, I decided to go back to school. I majored in Psychology because I’ve ALWAYS been in awe of people. The crazy part is, this was my major 10 yrs prior when I started college. In spite of me changing my major over 1/2 dozen times (due to my own confusion and my attempt to please everyone else) I ended up finishing in what I genuinely love.

I have Endometriosis, which is a female condition where your reproductive system basically attacks itself by producing a mass of built up scar tissue over the reproductive organs (in a nut shell). I’ve had it since I was 12, always told I’d never have a child and at 23, I birthed my baby girl and 26 I birthed my son. They are 6 days apart, Virgos and the left and right side of my heart. I have a boyfriend who has 3 children of his own and together, we’ve created a blended family.

I’m a hard working, loving, silly, playful, passionate, serious, relaxed uptight Gemini, Chicagoan Woman. My words often contradicts themselves, but my reasoning explains it all. I’ve been known to be quite the optimist, which I’m quite proud of. I have kept a journal from 3rd grade through High School and sporadically in life post school. My blog will be an open journal, if you will. Journaling has allowed me to know myself and love myself better than anyone else could. For the 1st time in my life, I’m ready to share my private thoughts in exchange for nothing more than your individual insight.

Word Press has confused the heck outta me for quite some time and now I feel like I’m ready to learn. Fell free to give me tips and tricks. I need all that can be spared. I broke my G2 in August, which I think was God’s aggressive way of getting me to pay attention to the here and now. I’ve since broke 2 more phones, so I’m on cell phone time-out currently. Blogs about these experiences coming soon.

Ok, welp, that’s a broad stroke view of lil ol me. I can’t wait to meet the people my stories reach and I’m oh so excited about you all meeting me!

Signing Off,

The tall, slim thick, black woman who’s simply complicated

BKA Angela Marie

All About The Boobies

GET BREAST EXAMS!!!

So, a month ago, I decided to take my health into my own hands. Because of my Endometriosis, my OBGNY has been my general practitioner, but I decided to book an appointment with the guy actually listed as that. During this appointment, I told him about this knot in the center of my belly (which turned out to be a Hiatial Hernia) & I decided to just get everything checked out. He referred me to a general sergeant, requested like every type of blood test they can request. Then I requested a breast exam. He was reluctant to fulfill that requests, but I refused to stand down. So many magazine periodicals advise that women over 30 have an annual mamagram, so I insisted that he book mine. A couple of weeks go by. The general sergeant confirmed not 1 but 2 hernias and said they will not go away, may get worst, but it was my choice to have the procedure or not. He was so cool, the way he presented me w/my options. I didn’t fill pressured to follow his recommendation. I didn’t feel foolish if I decided against it. I felt like I could decide and there would be no judgement against me, whatever my decision was. I decided to have the procedure. I cried like a baby, because I realized I was going to miss work as a result. I also realized I was opting, for the 1st time in my life, to give up the control I THOUGHT I had over my life. This was the most scary, insightful, upsetting, happy, uplifting reality I’d come across in my life. Clearly, I’m a control freak that FLIRTS w/the words of “let go and let God”. This was the 1st time I actually lived by those words.

During the week of my surgery, I had an ultrasound of my breasts done. I thought this was a bit odd, as I’ve always been taunted with my own images of this mid-evil machine that smashes ur boobies for minutes that can be compared to long eternities. Instead, I was placed on a plushy medical table, covered in the disposable tissue and given a gown and asked to remove all of my clothing from my hips up. My nurse was very pleasant and we made small talk about how I kept my 6 yr old New Balances so clean (Shout and the washer, btw). The gel was cold. Even though we were heavily involved in the most peaceful conversation about nothing, I was mentally combatting against the most toxic head chatter of what these results could be.
The following week, I had 2 procedures. I had THE most awesome experiences while under Anastasia, which I will save for another blog. I found so much beauty and serenity in that whole situation. Everything was simply, perfect.
Fast foward to yesterday, Monday October 24, 2014. I was lying in the bed, in the early stages of my nap, when my mom awoke me to speak to the doctor’s office. The receptionist said they found some abnormalities in my sonogram and would like me to call a breast specialist for further testing. I cried so hard, and so loud, my mom, dad and granny came rushing to my room. I couldn’t stop crying, nor look up. My mom took the phone and the receptionist advised her of what she told me. My mom comforted me and told me everything was gonna be fine. It’s probably just cysts, which are perfectly normal. She hugged me and got me settled then she and my granny left to run their Thanksgiving errands.
After my mom left, the sergeants words, reminding me of the choices I had,came to mind. I recalled the calmness, sense of support and lack of judgement which made me feel so comforted. I called and made my appointment, which is on December 6th. I promise to write an update, because writing these words are giving me so much peace.
I don’t know if there are other young ladies that have had this, or a similar experience, but I hope my experience sheds light and can serve as support for anyone who needs it. I have a fun bubbly personality, so I have decided to think of the many cysts in my body as big bubbles of love, joy and happiness that my body can’t live without. This concept is available for everyone that needs a pleasant concept behind their bodily function abnormalities. Feel free to interact with me. I’m still learning the ins and outs of blogging, but I would love to hear form everyone this blog reaches. Sending lots of love.
-Angela Marie

Breakdown of the Non-Incarcerated Prisioner

Image

So, my little brother is in jail. He has been for over 3 yrs. I deal with it, by not dealing with it. In turn, I’ve become a prisoner of my own emotions. When I got the call, I lived on the other side of the country. I had a private breakdown that night, outside the house so I wouldn’t disturb my own family. When I got control of myself,  I made a bee-line to the gym (as usual).

The next time I saw him was about 6 months later for sentencing. He had a family of women stand up on his behalf. He looked different than I remembered. His short, sharp haircuts transformed into a head of small neat plats braids. He was always slim, but he looked slimmer. He couldn’t communicate w/us. I could hardly look at him… It is a complete balancing act of keeping yourself together emotionally in such a distressing situation because you KNOW you have to be strong for other family members… for him…

(Deep breath) Everything else is a blur. I don’t remember how much time he was sentenced to. I can’t remember the color of his jump suit. I remember holding my younger sister because she broke down in a yelling and crying fit. What do you do? How do you deal with that.  To add insult to injury, a small amount of time later, my family and I flew back across country to return to our lives. I then had to balance my home life & responsibilities, with my own emotional response to the hardships my parents, sisters & my brothers’ family and I privately battled.

I tried writing him. The letter got lost in the mail and was returned to me months later. Every blue moon, my mom would 3 way me in calls, so I could talk to him. That was nearly too much. The only reference I have to prison life is TV. Both reality and scripted shows are far too scary for me to in vision my baby brother in. I had friends who were prison guards. Their perspective wasn’t much different than what i saw on TV.

I wrote my brother when I moved back w/my family. He has beautiful insight now. I pray he maintains that once he’s free. I currently live with my mom. I can’t bring myself to answer the phone when he calls. I got PISSED when he wanted us to call non-family members. It was like a smack in the face. It made me feel like he didn’t appreciate all we did. What we sacraficed… Lately, he’s been more empathetic & I must say I miss my brother. Just a conversation about nothing is the world to me.

For a long time,  my sisters & I told our children their Uncle was on vacation. I ended up telling them while we lived in Miami. Now they kind of walk on the tight rope when their cousins bring up their Uncle and his vacay. The children are getting older, they ask probing questions they they expect an answer to. They’re no longer easily distracted. They notice that we change the subject. What’s worst, he has a little girl. Who protects her? Her mom is awesome about them visiting. I can’t imagine the emotional distress that child is under.

A few months ago, he had parole hearing. My parents, granny, his girlfriend, daughter and I went.  I also had to bring my son because his dad was sick. My sisters couldn’t come, so I felt… incomplete. The worst experience of my LIFE was when the nice security guard had to pat my son and me down. We had to take off our shoes, put our hands on the wall, with our legs spread. Then the guard patted us down. At that moment, I said a prayer that I find myself praying often, BEGGING God to protect my son & never let him experience this again. I had to take down my bun, as bobby pins are not allowed in. I had to remove my broach, as they offered a possible hazard. I had to clean up my tears because I didn’t want to make a scene, nor make any other family member break. I also felt guilty. I didn’t feel it was fair to my other family members for me to have such an emotional response. Especially before we even saw him. Before we entered the room where the Hearing was held,  we were told not to talk to or touch him. Inside the room, my brother spoke so eloquently. He mentioned all of the accomplishments he managed to achieve during his imprisonment.  I felt like crap that we couldn’t be a part of celebrating his achievements, as he achieved them. I remember the sound of his voice b/c I COULD NOT look at him. He had a head full of beautiful dreads. He looked bigger. Healthier. As we were leaving, the guard let us say bye, but no touching. He saw my 5 yr old, who was a toddler when he saw him last. My son went to hug my brother, instinctual, & the guard yelled “NO!” which startled my son. Damn! How do you describe that… I can’t. Needless to say, I cried like a baby on our way out, in my daddy’s arms.

Another hard thing to deal with is my family’s response. My mom is so delicate. How do you advise a person, you parent, to deal with this without seeming cold, shallow, selfish, unconcerned, bossy, emotionally removed? I deal with it by not dealing with it. When something reminds me to deal with it, I cry uncontrollably then go through a rollercoaster of emotions from guilt, anger, embarrassment, selfishness, empathy, feeling sorry for everyone… it’s a mess. To feel in control of myself, I go back to forcing myself not to deal w/myself emotionally. I have to use what strength I do have to help my family.

I wrote this today to vent. I wish I had a suggestion, but I don’t.  I just know how helpful writing is to me & I pray that it helps a nonincarcerated prisoner feel less alone.

Until later,

Ms. TwerkOutWorkOut

NOTR’s Simply Affordable Fashion

The Angela’s are all about style, comfort and DEALS! In the attached photo, we are posing at the House of Blues about to get it IN at Tamar Braxton’s Love and War Concert. Everyone likes to go outside stunttin, but we just want to share, there’s no shame in having a budget. Now, here are the dets on each of our looks.

Angela T is rocking a Purple Tie Dye Maxie from the Lane Bryant Outlet which was about $45.00. She has on a Fergie flat BoHo styled sandal (Stein Mart, $30.00 http://bit.ly/1nxrAyo) and is using the sash from the dress as a head band. Do it Diva!
I am rocking a 1 piece Navy blue Rayon and Silk Romper (Love Culture, $35.00), BoHo styled Sandal (Mossimo for Target, $22.99  http://tgt.biz/1lLjSlT), vintage necklace, Bangles (Aldo about $30/set, I’m wearing 2).
Our faces are BEAT hunni! The Angelas believe in mixing products until you get your desired look. We used a mix of MAC, Covergirl and Urban Decay Products (M.A.C. http://bit.ly/1ir0L1H, Sephora http://bit.ly/1sA0cqk, Walmart http://bit.ly/1mfI4gY).
And THAT is Simply Affordable Fashion from the Angelas! Please tune into our show, Needle on the Record, every Thursday evening from 6:30-8:00 PST. Follow us on FB and Twitter (@NeedleOnThaRec), Instagram (Angela Marie: @amattox82 and Angela T: @AngelaInLV). Please feel free to like share and comment about your Simply Affordable Fashion this Summer. Til next time. Hugs and Sugas. xo
NOTR's Simple Affordable Fashions
NOTR’s Simple Affordable Fashions

Time to Face it

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So, I’ve had Endometriosis since I was 13.  At the time, I dealt with hemorrhaging (excessively uncontrollable bleeding), the worst cramps of my life and no remedy. Because I had irregular periods, my doctor put me on the pill (at 13), which didn’t work out too well since I couldn’t remember to take them at the same time daily and they made me nauseous. I’m a Chicagoan and after being referred from one doctor to another (& countless hospitalizations), I was diagnosed with Endometriosis when I was about about 15. My doctor told me I would never be able to have children, my condition was hormonally dependent (so we had to find a birth control that worked for me) and the condition is agitated by stress. We tried Depo Provera which worked, until we hit that 3 month mark. I felt like my body was punishing me for all the good days I had. I was on Depo for 10 yrs and even though still had REALLY bad times, it was the only medicine that gave the the type of relief that allowed me to live a semi-normal life.

I experienced a lot of embarrassment because I’d bleed through my clothes. I had days that I didn’t want to get out of bed, but did so anyway, just to be sent home because my cramps were too aggressive for me to concentrate on anything else & I messed up my clothes. I tried all types of tea, Epson Salt baths, heating pads, diaper covers (to prevent bleeding through my clothes), using several pads and tampons simultaneously, all types of medication (prescribed and over the counter) that NEVER worked! I felt like a prisoner of my own body. I refused to talk to too many people about this. Shit, the people that knew, knew by default. My family, best friend and cousin but only because they witnesses my “Endo Episodes” 1st hand. This post has taken me 5 days to write, because it takes me back to a very sad time in my life…

Around my Junior year in High School, I transferred to a school in the City which offered Gallery 37 (an acting/art after school program), a step team (like the Frats and Soros), I took piano lessons, a member of Upward Bound and Urban League. This may seem off topic, but belonging to these programs made me feel like I was a part of the team. Although I still fought my battles, it wasn’t nearly as overwhelming mentally and emotionally because I had other things to focus on. My REAL saving grace came at the beginning of my schooling, which was gym. I was able to release aggravation, by being physical, competitive and feel positive emotions, which later I found were Endorphins. By the time High School came, I was totally hooked! But, I had limitations because I had chronic Asthma until I was 23 years old.

When I was about 22, my whole family (and ex boy friend) moved to Las Vegas. About a month into living here, I had a horrible episode. My daddy rushed me to the hospital and after reading my chart and giving me a drip of “real drugs” all night, I was refered to my current doctor. During our 1st visit, I was in so much pain, I couldn’t stand straight up. He told me we would HAVE to explore a laparoscopy if my pain didn’t go away or calm down significantly in 2 wks. Of course, it didn’t so we did it. A laparoscopy is an out-patient procedure where they cut you open and laser out the built up scar tissue that grows in your Uterus, Fallopian Tubes, ovaries or whatever lady parts this yucky monster attacks you. Of course I was scared, as this was my 1st operation. My recuperation time was about a month. He also found some pretty big cysts. I was told this procedure was to bring me relief but if I were able to bear children, that’d be a beautiful surprise. Apparently, my beautiful surprise came AS SOON as my recovery time was done. God sent me my beautiful baby girl.

My pregnancy was pretty good. I had little to no issues w/my condition. Hormonally, I was a lil cray cray, but that’s about it. My sister often jokes about how I handled my labor like a G. The truth was, I’ve felt worst pain and I knew a beautiful baby girl was my prize, but under normal circumstances, the prize was feeling normal about 5-7 days later. After I had my daughter, I had postpartum depression. I was not willing to go on meds, so I went back to work as soon as she turned 6 wks old. My daughter and her dad had a beautiful bond and she and I didn’t, which hurt. Because I was anti-drugs and I gained 50 pounds, I began to exercise like MAD via Lifetime and Exercisetv.tv. I was able to claim my old body back in about 60 days. Also, my daughter and I started our bond when she was about 3 months old.  I had a C-Section, so I couldn’t do the ab challenges like I wanted to, initially, but when I could, I rode that thang til the wheels fell off! After that, I still had horrible battles with my condition, not to mention my daughter had chronic asthma, chronic allergies and chronic eczema. Because of our excessive doctor’s appointments and hospitalizations, I lost many jobs, which created money problems. If it weren’t for my parents, granny and siblings, only God knows where I’d be.

Skip forward 3 yrs, I had my son. I had postpartum depression with him too and my doctor put me on Prozac. He warned me that I would have to wean myself off. I stayed on for about a month, then I stopped cold turkey (I know, I’m so damned hard headed). About 7 months later, I moved to Miami with my boyfriend. Now, he’s from there, had a foundation and family. I felt like a fish out of water, but I wanted my family to work so I tried my best. I stayed for 4 yrs and had a super crazy experience overall. In that time, I managed to get my AS in Psychology and I became even more dependent on exercise. No matter how my life was going, I felt in control in the gym. I loved the body that I was creating, all of my problems disappeared, I found the willpower to deal with whatever came my way (and believe me, it was always something). I took sculpting, dance, yoga, pilates, belly dancing, cross-training, boot camp and urban kick boxing classes (to name a few). Toward the end of my stay in Miami, I came across a Hip-Hop class that taught me about Twerking (read about it in my “Why Twerk” post) that introduced me to me. I learned how to control my muscles, I learned how to do body isolations fast, slow, up, down. I learned how to do the dances the women down there did that just intimidated the life out of me. But most importantly, I learned to believe in me. I learned that I control my life. It started in fitness, but took precedence over me. All of me!

Fast forward 1 1/2 yrs later. I’m in Vegas. I teach Twerk Out Work Out and Hot Hula via the City of Las Vegas, I’m in the process of offering the classes online and then BAM, I get sick (AGAIN, WTF!?!) I have become so tolerant to being in pain ALL the time, I have a hard time deciphering when I need to get help or not. Sometimes I go to the Doctor and explain my symptoms and they look at me like I’m a hypochondriac who has nothing better to do than complain about pain that’s not there. Or complain about heavy bleeding, cuz who reads medical charts any more!?! What’s worse, there isn’t much definitive information out there about Endometriosis. I find more answers, support and possible remedies from others who suffer compared to the doctors who are just well paid educated guessers (shade but no shade).

I created this post to share with someone (or some people) so they can realize they are not alone. Although there isn’t a “cure”, there are ways to manage this condition. I hate talking about Endo because I don’t want to take on the whole “woe is me” mindset, nor do I want a pity party. I’m a survivor and so are YOU! Education, exercise and prayer and saved me. I’m currently looking into meditation (I’ll let you know how that goes). If you ever need a friend, you got a friend in me (a complete stranger, lol). My granny ALWAYS reminds me, God doesn’t put more on us than we can bear. And this too shall pass. Until next time. TTYL

All my love (& support)

Angela bka “Ms. Twerk Out Work Out”

Ps- Feel free to leave questions, concerns and/or comments on this post. :~*