I had never worked in such a difficult environment; it was challenging to see a disease destroy patient's bodies and not have legitimate ways of treating them. As a nurse, I so deeply desire to help people and see them to recovery, something that has hardly been happening in the face of COVID-19.
I've been talking about trauma and loss for a long time, so I want to talk about complaining. We are experiencing a loss of freedom, lack of connection and increased fear of economic fallout during this pandemic. We are not used to this kind of prevalent, lengthy. and collective grief in the air.
The first pic you see of me here is from November 2018, roughly 3 weeks after having brain surgery. It all started one morning in January of 2018. I flew from LA to San Jose en route to Santa Cruz for several meetings I had set for the day. I was driving on Highway 17 heading to Santa Cruz from the San Jose Airport. I was on the freeway for all of 20 minutes, and out of nowhere a car comes out from a residential area to the right of me, attempting to make a left turn onto the freeway where there was a concrete median divider — making it impossible to turn left. The car stops literally in the middle of the highway — in my lane! I was going over 60 mph. Beginning to slam on breaks, I attempted to jump in the right lane but there were cars coming, so I couldn't make it. At that moment I clenched hard because I knew I was gonna have to hit this car!
After more than two years, two doctors, countless negative pregnancy tests, one miscarriage, and one failed IUI treatment cycle, we are still waiting. Our plans have not become our reality. Now, our plans are indefinitely on hold because of a pandemic. A pandemic?! Now that's a curveball that not even a seasoned infertility warrior could have seen coming, especially one that was two weeks away from starting IVF.
Being an entrepreneur comes with a load of stress. It is exciting to be starting something of your own and be free from having a boss or the demands of a corporation. But let's face it; you are suddenly playing every role in the company: marketing, managing, public relations, book-keeping, etc., and that is a lot to juggle. Keeping your stress levels in check is critical, and to do that you need to focus on three main things: diet, exercise and relaxation.
Dr. Mary Beth Wilkas Janke is a former United States Secret Service Agent and current consultant in the fields of forensic and clinical psychology and professor at George Washington University, where she teaches Abnormal Psychology and the Psychology of Crime and Violence. Mary Beth holds a Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology, a Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology, and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. She is also the author of " The Protector: A Woman's Journey from the Secret Service to Guarding VIPs and Working in Some of the World's Most Dangerous Places"
Aji Oliyide is a Senior Program Manager at Google who has worked on a number of projects related to product launches, and mergers and acquisitions. Aji sits on the board of directors for San Francisco CASA, a San Francisco non-profit devoted to supporting youth in the foster care system. In addition to board service, she enjoys volunteering and travelling. In 2011, she traveled to Nepal to participate in a charity trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp resulting in over $5,000 personally raised for a local Nepalese non-profit. In her spare time, Aji explores her creative side through her blog (Pivot Points) and her podcast Eat.Plank.Live. Her blog is focused on sharing insights from the decisions and events in people's lives that have influenced their path and how they interact with the world. Her podcast focuses on the role that food and fitness plays in our lives and is now live on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher. Aji holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and an MBA from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.
TaChelle Lawson is a hospitality veteran with over 20 years in marketing, branding and events and has worked with brands such as Nike, Louis Vuitton, Coca-Cola, M&M Mars, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz. As an entrepreneur, TaChelle focuses on bringing understanding to the corporate world about what it's like to be a black woman in corporate America by shifting the mindset of diversity. It's about more than ethnicity; it's about mindset.
TaChelle started sassmouth to acknowledge the natural beauty of black women that is rarely acknowledged outside of the black community. As little black girls are raised to believe everything about us is "too" something and that we need to adjust to fit in and be accepted. So, we do, and our adjustments become our norm. Although the average black woman is born with fuller lips, dark skin, and a big butt, her features are not considered "beautiful." Today, there is an unusually high number of non-black women undergoing surgery to adopt average "black" features. Yet, the black woman has still not made it to the "beautiful" category.
She remembers watching a video of a young black man being forced to cut his dreadlocks off to participate in his high school wrestling match. While the video was appalling, she found herself staring at the anchor woman's lips who was covering the story. They were so fake and unnatural, yet this young man was forced to cut something natural because it didn't fit the "norm." She decided she wasn't ok with that, so she created a brand to give a voice to the audience whose natural beauty is overlooked, borrowed, and stolen, but rarely acknowledged: black women.