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WHAT’S NEXT: Birthdays And The Promise Of New Days

birthday girl

My mom tells me that she laboured for a fairly long time when I was born. I finally made my grand appearance on the evening of May 10th, then caught my first sunrise on May 11th, beginning my first full day of life.

Whenever I think about what some of the energy of that May 10th must have been like, I see how it recreates itself on nearly every birthday that has followed. The flurry of activity, the anxiety, the flood of emotion, the celebratory well-wishes, the love, and the wondering of “OK – now what? What’s next?” May 10th is always a high vibration day, but after that sunrise on May 11th things start to settle into whatever “next” is, the same way I imagine it did back when I was born.

It’s felt like I’ve been labouring for a while. Life has been hitting me with wave after wave of discomfort that must be pushing me towards some kind of breakthrough – at least, that’s what I tell myself to have made it through the last 4 weeks with my sanity relatively intact.

There’s been the disappointment of reaching the end of a contract at a dope job after hoping that months of renewal plans would pan out, then learning 2 days before contract end that everything had changed. There’s the effort it takes to get used to switching a side hustle to a main, and hitting a new stride with freelance and entrepreneurial work. There’s the panic that sets in when one of North America’s most prominent children’s hospitals calls and tells you something might be wrong with the baby still in your womb, the days of anxiety before testing, and the overwhelming relief when everything turns out to be OK.

There’s the guilt you feel when you decide to take your toddler out of her regular daycare routine to be financially responsible, knowing that kids are resilient and she’ll love the time with Mommy before her sibling arrives, but still wondering how you blinked and became a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom. Then, there’s dealing with the aftereffects of a car accident. Being rear-ended as a pregnant woman, even in less serious collisions, has a greater impact – thanks to changing centres of gravity and shifting organs and loosened ligaments that are more easily sprained. At least, that’s what my physiotherapist tells me, who I see twice a week to stabilize my body – something that seems like an oxymoron because my pregnant body feels anything but stable.

So, I’m here. I’m OK. My babies, both the one breathing oxygen and the one swimming in amniotic fluid, are fine. Nothing has been catastrophic or insurmountable. It’s just been a lot in a short period of time, and my true Taurean tendency to have difficulty with change is something I have to keep in check every day. Focusing on everything that life encompasses these days led me to almost forget my birthday – something utterly unheard of, since I generally start counting down on April 10th then celebrate for the whole month of May. Even with all the distraction, this May 10th was still full of those usual birth day energies, but the two that won out were love and “What’s next?”

Being reminded that there are amazing people in this world who love me is sustaining. I drank it in and was nourished by it all yesterday. Little Magician sang “Happy Birthday” to me more times than I could count, and every time sounded like the first time to me. And now, it’s May 11th. I’ve seen my first daybreak on this new trip around the sun, and I’m ready to think about what’s next. I’ve been thrown out of my comfort zone and out of alignment, and my plans for what the next few months look like before #BossBaby arrives have been thrown out the window too. Maybe my plans have been thrown away so that my hands are free to catch something else. Maybe my comfort zones needed new, broader boundaries and maybe my alignment will be better now than it was before. Time will tell, but through it all I’m learning more about myself and the people around me than I possibly could without all of these ups and downs.

I have life. I have love. I have another day and another year to do my best in all things and to see myself bloom from the tightly closed bud I seem to have become lately. May 10th was for me. May 11th is for the future. And what a bright one it shall be.

BROWNSUGAMAMA: Getting Active With In The Dance Fitness & Yendi Phillipps! [video]

yendijuly2014 (4)It’s been 2 months, and #BROWNSUGAMAMAhood has been quite the journey! We’re getting to the point where Layla the Little Magician is starting to form some semblance of a sleep schedule – nowhere hear through the night, but at least she’s starting to understand the difference between sunrise and sunset.

As for me, I had a great 6 week check-up and have started to ease back into my workout regime. How did I kick off my return to the land of sweat, muscle soreness, and fighting the urge to skip workouts when my Nike Training Club app reminds me? By getting in the dancehall groove with Yendi Phillipps’ In The Dance Fitness class – the Tdot return!

yendijuly2014 yendijuly2014 (2) If you recall, I wined and bubbled with a belly full of magic during the Toronto launch of the Jamaican goddess’ dance fitness DVD earlier this year. We talked then about natural hair, her life as a dancer/beauty queen/TV show host/model/media personality/mommy, and obviously chatted about her In The Dance Fitness project, merging her love of dance with a fun workout you can do in the comfort of your own home. Yendi returned to Toronto in July to give us more dancehall goodness, to tape In The Dance Fitness 2 (yes!), and to fill in as a guest host on Global News’  The Morning Show!

yendi global

 via Yendi’s Instagram

As busy as she was, I managed to have another fun interview convo caught on camera with the hilarious and beautiful chica after sweatin’ it out in dance class. Take a peek at Yendi and I, glistening and glowing straight out of the dance studio – talking about motherhood, tips for getting active post-baby, what’s next for In The Dance Fitness, and more!

Bonus: catch my dance moves and Little Magician joining in the fun too! 

So, get ready world! Yendi will be bringing In The Dance Fitness to a city/country near you! Keep up with her moves on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

Photos/video by iShotYa Media

BROWNSUGAMAMA: One Month Of Motherhood


I find it really interesting that on the first day of summer, at the same moment the sun was making her ascent, my child decided to make her entrance into the world. I’m sure there will be something in her personality or some serendipitous situation that will bridge the link between that and the conditions of her birth, but for now I call her my summer baby; my sunshine dahlin’; and always, my Little Magician.

I’m someone who can be very wary about making close connections with people. In the past couple of years especially, I’ve been crushed by broken promises and shattered trust, and usually feel more comfortable keeping people at a bit of a distance. That is entirely NOT possible with my daughter, which is honestly kind of scary to me. I’ve never cared about anything the way I care about her. I can’t tell y’all how many times I’ve cried – either slow tears that are easily swept away, or hot streams that leave my whole face red –  because of my love for her. I adore her with my whole being, and often feel I don’t deserve her, or that I’m deathly afraid of ruining her, or that I need to apologize to her for being a shitty mom. I’ve done and said all of those things, and for me, the fear of letting her down in any way is simultaneously my greatest motivator and biggest source of anxiety.

If you’re someone who is already very critical, having a child can lead you down an even more self-deprecating rabbit hole. I felt like a failure because I diverted from my birth plan – I went natural for 90% of the way, then at the last moment quietly begged for the epidural. I had a vacuum-assisted birth, and felt like I could have and should have pushed harder on my own. In the first few weeks, she and I did a ‘getting to know you’ dance around breastfeeding – some days were good, others weren’t. When she wasn’t gaining weight as quickly as expected, I just knew I was doing something wrong and wasn’t providing for her sufficiently. Some days she cries and cries and looks at me desperately with her huge brown eyes as if to say, “Help, mom!” and when I don’t know what to do, I cry along with her and tell her I’m sorry.

The good days, though? Those are GREAT days. Those are the days when she lets me get in an extra half hour of sleep, when she’s not too fussy, when HomieLuva and I are able to just sit together and take in the magnificence of what we created. Everyday she uncovers a new gift about herself, or reveals a gift I possess but didn’t see, or teaches me about life, love, and existence in a way no one else can. Life is in high-definition now – when I think about how she’s seeing the world with fresh eyes, it makes me do the same. Colours are more vibrant, music is more melodic, I feel no ways about dancing like a fool in public to calm her cries, and I hope when she’s older we still dance like fools to make each other laugh.

Everything has happened so fast. The best way to prepare is to admit to yourself that you can’t ever be 100% prepared, and just resolve to do your best. Each day when I wake up, I take a breath, look at myself in the bathroom mirror, and say “She needs you. She loves you. You’ve got this. Just do your best.” The fears and anxieties never fully dissipate, but as corny as it sounds, once she looks at me or squeezes my finger or calms at my touch…I know I’ve got this.

I debated creating a brand new blog to document my motherhood journey, but thought I’d start off by sharing some of those thoughts here on ’83 To Infinity. I’m thinking that I’ll house those posts under the BROWNSUGAMAMA category, so hopefully you’ll check them out of if you’re so inclined!  I’m just a month in and I’ve got a lot to share about my pregnancy, my labour & delivery, balancing motherhood and work, getting in shape post-baby, and so much more. Also, in the vein of creating the things I’m always looking for, I’ll use this space to write from the perspective of a Black Canadian mother unapologetically raising a little Black girl in this world. We’ll see where it goes, but I hope y’all enjoy the new dimensions this topic will bring!


And don’t forget: Curls, Coils & Cocktails is coming this Saturday! We’ll be celebrating the diversity of natural hair with a panel discussion, performance & Q+A with Saidah Baba Talibah, amazing vendors, yummy food and drinks, door prizes, gift bags and more! Get your tickets here:!

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