Cheers! My Birthday Celebration with the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours

After losing my grandmother a few weeks before my birthday, I really needed to celebrate life. I know she would want me to do that. This year, I decided to ring in a new year of life in wine country. My soror traveled up from So Cal to visit. This would be her first time in Napa. I didn’t want to drive so instead, we bought bus tickets for the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours.

Let me tell you something, going on this bus tour was one of the BEST decisions I made. The Napa Valley Wine Country Tours bus isn’t just any bus. It’s a limo bus that looks like a VIP club lounge on wheels. We paid $119 for an 8-hour trip, visit to 4 wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties, continental breakfast and lunch. It was worth every penny. The tastings aren't covered in the bus fare, but they ran about $10-$25. Wineries won't charge you for tastings if you buy a bottle. I recommend this for tourists and any Bay Area locals who have folks visiting from out of town and want a short excursion to Nap…

The Freedom of Being Yourself

One of the greatest freedoms one can ever have is the freedom to be their true self.  If you look throughout history many people have fought and died for that freedom. The freedom to be gay and walk hand-in-hand with your partner. The freedom to wear your hair the way you want without people judging your beauty or political beliefs. The freedom to practice your religion. The freedom to be a young black man walking down the street without someone harassing you and assuming you're a thug (Justice for Trayvon). And the freedom to not be judged for having a mental health challenge or a disability and be labeled as helpless or worthless. 

For a long time I grappled with accepting myself. The nerdiness, managing my depression, being called a white girl because I spoke proper English, having dark skin, etc. But the day I got tired of beating myself  up and decided those who don't like my true self can kick rocks was life changing. What I have learned, especially since wearing my hair natural, is that sometimes people hate on those who are "different" because they're envious and wish they could be their true selves. Think about it. Look at people like the ministers Eddie Long and Ted Haggard. Both were publicly anti-gay, but men have come forward and said privately they weren't practicing what they preached. And I've had sistas tell me they wished they had courage to wear their hair natural, but they stick to the creamy crack because straight hair is more acceptable. 

I recently recorded a short op-ed about this topic called "Freedom and the Mental Health Movement" for my show Mental Health and Wellness Radio. It's about mental health, but pertains to all of us because we all have brains. Therefore we all need to take care of our mental health. Please give it a listen and let me know what you think. In the meantime, be happy being yourself.