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Episode 083: Single Mom Finds Her Love Has No Limits
Episode 083: Single Mom Finds Her Love Has No Limits with special guest Maleka Long Chris
In a world of divorce and dysfunction, Maleka Long Chris is making sure the kids aren’t being forgotten. Even before her own divorce, Maleka found ways to make her kids and their friends priority. While doing so, she found her life’s purpose. Meet Maleka Long Chris, wife, mom, and founder of Love Beyond Limits.
Leanne: 00:00:07 Welcome to Life Lafter Divorce podcast, episode 83, I am your host Leanne Linsky
The Boyfriend: 00:00:12 And I’m the boyfriend.
Leanne: 00:00:13 Welcome back to a wonderful week of divorce. We are excited to be here,
The Boyfriend: 00:00:19 so I think every week from now on until the end of time is a wonderful week or divorce.
Leanne: 00:00:25 Yes.
The Boyfriend: 00:00:25 Yes.
Leanne: 00:00:27 You can pick that up. Yes it did.
Leanne: 00:00:29 It is. And Hey, why are you tuning in? As long as you’re not driving, make sure you stop rate, review and subscribe. We want to hear from you and while you’re out there not driving, check out the web and life laughter, divorce.com because we have an online store with a really cool self care items like handcrafted soaps and candles, all divorce themes for your bathing pleasure and candles. For those. Unlike moments or even romantic moments you may, he’ll be hoping to have so check all those out because they’re handcrafted here in Long Beach, California. Yeah, they’re quite nice. The boyfriend uses him. Yes, he does. That’s right. And there’s other good stuff happening on the website, like life coaching. Check it out. I’m giving away one free life coaching per person in the entire world. It sounds like I have some life coaching sessions. Check it out under the life coaching tab. Schedule your session with me now. I’d love to talk. I love to hear what’s going on with you and see where you’re going this next year and boyfriend Leanne, speaking of where you’re going next year
The Boyfriend: 00:01:42 I have no idea where I’m going next year.
Leanne: 00:01:44 Sure. This is true. So like the move is about over and we’re settling in. This is kind of moving some things around here and there and everything. But if you had known like a year ago where you were, you would be today, would you have guessed this? No, but if you think way, lots of levels
The Boyfriend: 00:02:07 Big changes have happened over this past year for both of us.
Leanne: 00:02:10 Oh, huge. Yeah. Fortunately, no children. That’s not in the mix. I’m dodge that bullet. So nothing wrong with kids. We love children. It’s just that ship has pretty much sailed for me at this point. So, hey, here’s the thing I’m wondering, boyfriend, like, so you didn’t, we, neither of us had any idea at the beginning of this year. Like, this is where we would be in our lives and everything because we’ve had so many crazy unexpected things happen, but like five years ago I wouldn’t have even have guests that I would be living in California because I was still living in New York, right?
The Boyfriend: 00:02:48 Five years ago. I was hoping to be gone and out of California
Leanne: 00:02:51 right by now. But here we are. We are. So when you think about that, like even in those short spans of time, I mean, we don’t even know we’re going to be in six months, but, but when you think about that, it’s like, wow, so much can happen in so much can change. But thinking back to like our childhood, when you were little and you think about like what you wanted to be or where you wanted to be when you grew up, had whatever the picture was in your mind. Did you picture this to be it?
The Boyfriend: 00:03:19 No, I did not. this would not be where I would expect to be located or career wise or anything right now.
Leanne: 00:03:28 So. Okay. So when you say that though, did you have higher? Okay. I don’t want to say to higher expectations for yourself because then if you’re like, yeah, here I am with you, I would feel bad. So I want to ask you that. But when you think about it, when, when we’re kids, we only know what’s in front of us. We only know what our parents do. We only know about like the people in their lives around us, what people are capable of.
The Boyfriend: 00:03:55 Yeah. Our worlds are pretty small at that.
Leanne: 00:03:56 Yeah. And so when we think about it or maybe we see what we know, what we see on TV, right? Like, right. So you were kind of influenced by that, but also when you think of like, what do you want to be when you grow up? Like, you know, for a long time I thought I was either going to be a mom or the president. Both equally important jobs,
The Boyfriend: 00:04:21 both things that you were exposed to, you saw your mom and I’m sure you saw the president on TV or whatever. So things that you were aware of.
Leanne: 00:04:30 Right? Right. So, so neither of which things came to fruition but, but, but yeah, I mean to me both of those are super important jobs and I would have been happy to have either one frankly. but that wasn’t the direction that I went and you know, as I got older, doors opened up, like I would never ever have even considered the entertainment business. But it was actually, it was actually my, one of my college advisor who said, well, this came about after I had to do a presentation, Internet, international marketing. And long story short, I ended up speaking pig, Latin. Everybody else, like if their country that they were doing it, I was in France and they would speak French and another person, if they were doing their project on Germany, they were speaking German in their intro. And so I was next up and I was like, I don’t know, whatever country it was I had. So I spoke pig Latin and everybody, when I rattled off a sentence in pig Latin, everybody was like, oh, interesting. I wonder what country she has in pig Latin. I don’t know, German.
Leanne: 00:05:43 And at that point, my, my college, my college, a professor who happened to be my advisor at the time, he just put his head down in his desk. He was like, oh, what am I going to do? Everybody
Leanne: 00:05:58 was dying laughing. I mean I got a great laugh out of it. And, but anyway, afterward when I had a meeting with him about like where I should be applying for jobs and where I should go, he was like, I really see you in either team in business and no lie. He actually introduced me to someone who is like the manager for the mcguire sisters or something like that. So I’m so off I went, but, but I hadn’t even considered anything like that until then go someone. No, someone else suggested it, you know. And then like I think about the teachers and stuff, I had it back in grade school. And was there any one particular person who really had any influence over me? And I can’t say that really. Not as much as that. So I’m wondering what kind of influence the people around you have. Like, were there mentors or teachers who, who made an impact?
The Boyfriend: 00:06:51 I had mentors and teachers. My Dad was a teacher, so that sorta was impactful to me because I saw the work that he did in, in the way the students looked up to him. but, but as I was going through my education through high school, I had teachers, this is interesting and I don’t know how many of you out there have these kinds of relationships with your teachers, but I had a teacher back when I was in elementary school, that I stayed in contact with and that I actually visited with after high school. and I had a high school teacher that it was the same way when I was in college and I would come back and visit that specific high school teacher because they had an impact on me. They showed me, they, they went out of their way, would, it felt, felt like to me, they went out of their way to give me some great career in life, advice to become a better person and to be prepared. as I got older and entered into a career, so these, these were very important people to me in and I think everyone should have those kinds of people in their lives.
Leanne: 00:08:00 Yeah. What if you didn’t though, how different our lives would be?
The Boyfriend: 00:08:07 I could make a crass joke and I’m not going to do that right now, but, I don’t know,
Leanne: 00:08:13 but I’m thinking about. Okay. We were fortunate in we, we both had our parents, right? We had both parents, each of us had both parents in the home. Correct. And so, my mom stayed at home and was there for me after school and that kind of thing. So I had a lot of guidance and someone to go to and. But there’s a lot of kids and we talked to a lot of people on this podcast who are children of divorce and their parents were split and they didn’t always have a goto person. But what about all those kids who, who don’t have someone to look up to or don’t have a parent to go to for guidance or you know, in, in another instance that, you know, I was run the kids on one side of my family to go to college. So there was a lot I didn’t know. And you know, that made a difference because I wasn’t heavily influenced and like, oh you have to go to college because that wasn’t done all the time. So if you don’t come from that, it’s not on the forefront of your mind.
The Boyfriend: 00:09:12 But what I think you’re saying is that, that the role models that we have when we grow up or they can be influential, they are influential in our lives.
Leanne: 00:09:23 Yeah, absolutely. They are. And it, you know, and that’s why this guest that we have this week I think is very special and what she’s doing is so important and so key in our communities because she’s actually going out there and providing knowledge that you don’t get unless you have those people in your life. You have a, Goto, you have someone to look up to, you have someone who’s gonna suggest things that would never have popped into your brain because it just isn’t in your world,
The Boyfriend: 00:09:53 like, like a true guidance counselor, but not really a counselor, but
Leanne: 00:09:57 like it’s almost like offering you all those skills that you need to know in life, but you never get in school.
The Boyfriend: 00:10:03 Yeah. Cut scores, reading, writing, arithmetic. Now, and this is life skills, life skills.
Leanne: 00:10:09 So I’m real excited about our guest this week because she’s doing really remarkable things. She is a wife, a mother and the founder of a nonprofit called love beyond limits. Her name is Malika, Chris, and I can’t wait for you to meet her. Without further ado, Maleka, welcome to life after divorce podcast.
Maleka : 00:10:46 Thank you for having me.
Leanne: 00:10:47 Yeah, our pleasure. And boyfriend is here too. Hey, so this is an exciting podcast because I’m like, I’ve known you for what, a couple of years, but I don’t know. know,
Maleka : 00:11:00 Let’s get get to know me.
Leanne: 00:11:02 Yeah. Let’s get to know Maleka. So I know you’ve been at your currently happily married. We should start with that disclaimer, right?
Maleka : 00:11:09 Yes. Yes. Let’s start there.
Leanne: 00:11:11 And you actually just got married.
Maleka: 00:11:13 I did. I got married June 23rd. That day was special to me as the day my father passed. So, I thought I give it to the next important guy in my life and make happy memories with it.
Leanne: 00:11:24 Wow. That’s very nice. Yeah. Congratulations. I’m sorry about your father.
Maleka: 00:11:31 Thank you. Thank you.
Leanne: 00:11:32 Wow. What a way to honor him.
Maleka: 00:11:33 Yeah. He’s, they’re both good guys.
Leanne: 00:11:36 Yeah. So, so now you’re, you’re newlywed.
Maleka: 00:11:39 Yes.
Leanne: 00:11:40 Your newlywed. And you left the house today and told your husband I’m going to go do a podcast about divorce.
Maleka: 00:11:45 Right. and the look on his face was priceless, but let’s talk about it later. So,
Leanne: 00:11:54 so you were married and divorced prior to him? Yes. Yeah. Tell us about that.
Maleka: 00:12:00 Sure, sure. when did I get married? I got married in 2001. Yeah. November 2001. he’s actually two of my daughter’s father. he was my brother best friend. I think they still best friends of my brother’s best friend. so we kinda grew up in the same area around each other and we took a shot at it and it didn’t work and I love the smile on your face as you’re telling us, but he was, he’s a good guy actually. I’m the, he’s remarried as well. he has a new baby. for the most part it was, I was young and I didn’t understand my duty as a wife. I didn’t understand my role as a wife and when the going got tough I just bailed out pretty much emotionally first then physically and then with the divorce papers. So, yeah, I just wasn’t ready for the most part. Yeah. How long were you married to him? Oh, we were together 10 years. We were married seven. Oh yeah. It was one. It really was, in my opinion, one of those, dysfunctional connections. Our negativity is what brought us together and that’s a heart foundation to build on. And the focus really. I was, I think I was about 20, when I did get married and
Maleka : 00:13:40 he tried, he tried, he really loved me, but with his dysfunction match my dysfunction and it just, it wasn’t a place I knew I would always be, I knew I was growing and God was using me for certain things and I was terrified to lose that by following my husband, you know, as, as bmi lead or a having the male role or the husband role, I didn’t think that we were going to go good places. So, yeah, I try. I mean I tried all that. I knew at that point.
The Boyfriend: 00:14:14 Yeah. When did the incredibly wise words by saying that the foundation would have been difficult to build upon? When did you realize that during it? After in retrospect, hindsight, looking back on it as you grew?
Maleka : 00:14:30 Yeah, I probably realized it. I’m in the middle and believe it or not, like when people say you see red flags or you know, you see flags and then you think you can either love the person through it or you think that you have enough love and you to cover whatever that is. there was one very specific incident that I remember that was unacceptable to me and I should have left then, but I was too far in, Kinda to get out and I thought that I can just stick it out and it was more of a moral decision. what irritated me or what made me mad. and then I just kind of held it in the back of my head. So every little thing that happened that came back up honestly. So I guess I was never all the way in order to make it work.
Leanne: 00:15:23 So would you say like, so like it sounds to me, and tell me if I’m wrong, but I like what I’m hearing is like you guys came from the same background in the same area. Like you’re best friends with your brother and it seemed like the logical fit, but when it came down to it maybe the, like your core beliefs, your morals and your values didn’t line up
Maleka : 00:15:42 right? Correct. So, it seemed like he did. It seemed like it did a, believe it or not at that time he was out of the house obviously from his mom. I was out of the house. he had two siblings, incarcerated. I had two siblings incarcerated. I had two kids. He had two kids. we were in like a street life, whatever that looks like to the listener or the viewers. so it matched. But before I had my first kid, we tried this. Not, not like physically or like dating or anything, but it was, there was the little crush ’em. And then I didn’t see him in. When I had my first daughter, I ran into him and he was ready still. And I wasn’t because I was in a relationship and then we didn’t see each other. And then when I had my second daughter, I ran into him again.
Maleka : 00:16:36 So I’m believing this is fake, this is really meant to be. and he accepted my two daughters, like his own. My youngest one was six months when we actually made an effort to be together. and it was, it was cool. It was, we were a young couple married, you know, with kids. We stayed over here on 20th and Seritos we had a big house and it seemed like everybody was looking up to us, but that was even more pressure because we have people look into us, but we didn’t have anybody to look to. So we didn’t have role models around us. We didn’t have married people when we went through battles or issues, we had to figure it out ourself. And that usually was over a cocktail that didn’t end well.
Leanne: 00:17:23 Right. Well that’s fascinating that. Okay, so, so here you guys were doing good things, right? And everybody was looking up to you and we’re like, wow, you’re really making the right choices and doing the right things. But the key thing is, is you didn’t have anyone to look to. So neither of you had parents or somebody that you could kind of go to or go tos or any anybody like that
Maleka : 00:17:47 Nafa direction of is at that time. My parents were both living in. Both of my parents passed. but both my parents were living his mom and his stepfather. They were there and available, but there was no strong foundation. There was nobody to talk to us. Even the few people that I call when I did have problems, it was like, you don’t have to deal with that. Let’s go hang out like girl, do you? So it’s, it’s not, it’s not the company you need when you struggling in a marriage and you’re young and you have these kids in this responsibility. And it looked beautiful on the outside, but it was, it was hard
The Boyfriend: 00:18:27 as a role model. You needed a role model, right?
Maleka: 00:18:30 Everybody does. Everybody does. So it was one of those empty glass things like we were pouring into other people because like literally our house was what they call big Mama House.
Maleka : 00:18:40 It was like a grandmother feel. You can come over there, you can eat anytime and you can bring your kids. It was a safe environment. We plan, the adults are doing adult things. it was a real nice environment. Trampolines in the back, playstations basketball courts. it was, it was a good place to be, but everybody came needing something. Nobody came really bringing anything. So that was draining
Leanne: 00:19:03 and it’s really hard. So at what point were you, you know, at what point, because being together for married for seven together for 10, that’s a long time. At what point were you just kind of like, this is, this is it for me?
Maleka : 00:19:20 when I had my first daughter, I was trying to make these drastic changes to be a better person because I didn’t want my kids to be or to experience the lifestyle that, I was accustomed to. So I was always making these small efforts to do better. And then I would end up in my comfort back in my comfort zone. So when I had my third daughter, she was born November 20, 27th and we got married November second. So she has sickle cell and life got real for us. she’s in and out of the hospital, she’s going through all of this stuff and again, as young people we pulled it together, we making it seem like, you know, it’s kind of effortless. but it was, that was another struggle and then he wanted another kid, which I was scared because this one has sickle cell that’s a genetic trait that we gave her to end up with the actual disease.
Maleka : 00:20:13 So I didn’t want to have another kid and then when we did, I named her Maleka because I have four daughters and I think somebody should have been named after me.
Leanne: 00:20:23 Yeah. Why should it just be the boys?
Maleka: 00:20:24 Right. Right. So when I had my leaky, it is life just got real. I go through it like I evolve, evolve and life keeps getting real and tragedy happens and you just start seeing life different. there was things that I had to do for my family as far as my grandmother and my parents that he didn’t understand. And then he was still like trying to fit in places. I tell them he wants to be the man instead of a man, so, you know, just being young and trying to hang out. He’s a barber. So that was a, that’s a whole nother lifestyle. so, you know, just trying to keep up with that and the hustle and bustle of that type of lifestyle. I was slowly drifting at that point after I had little Melaleuca, I was slowly drifting in to this shale that I go in, which I’ve stopped doing but drifted into this shell for me to figure it out and they will not come out. I just come out swinging like I got it all together. Right. It was my defense.
Maleka: 00:21:25 It’s not uncommon.
Leanne: 00:21:29 It’s kind of isolate and reflect and do a lot of inside work and yes, shut out the noise kind of thing.
Maleka: 00:21:37 Exactly.
Leanne: 00:21:38 Yeah. So when you did this, this now, does he recognize like this is going on with you or
Maleka : 00:21:45 not really? I guess again, it matched so much other traits, so it looked like she just wanted to control situations. If it’s not her weight in the highway, it’s his favorite quote. so when it was time to build and be a family with like, Nah, you just want to control me because I’m going to, he got bought a motorcycle and go onto the motorcycle club and I was like, I was already doing that. The motorcycle club is not the problem. These four little people that we try to be a example for, became the real problem and by now these little kids are getting bigger so they notice stuff and you know, you can’t just do anything, you have anything around them. So the first thing I really started doing this kind of shutting down the whole big Mama House thing and I lost a lot of friends and family members from that I got deep into church, start going to church and trying to figure out what it was I was supposed to be doing. Not Necessarily about the church, but more of just fellowshipping with people that was trying to go in the same direction. And I just started studying a lot and there were things that we needed to do and stop doing and he wasn’t willing to do it.
Leanne: 00:22:53 Right. So did, so when you finally approached him on it, were you guys both on the same page? Like this isn’t working? We need to part ways or.
Maleka : 00:23:03 I think it showed up more like he would hang out and just, you know, go with his friends. We just started going in different directions and about time we realize that we’re in different directions. I would say it was a mutual thing. we, there was an episode that we definitely knew that, okay, this is, this is not working. yeah, there was a, there was a mess and we just agreed like we can’t live like this because it was never that. So we didn’t have the problem with violence cheat and we didn’t, we didn’t have that. so when we ran into this new episode in life, we were like, okay, this is not gonna work because definitely it’s not going to work with us and this is not fair to the kids. So we had that conversation. I’m about ending it and we separated and I think we were separated probably 10 months and then we got back together and it will by the end it was too much done and say it. So that didn’t work the last probably three months. And then we decided to, let it go and then he still was kind of shocked and confused when he got the divorce papers.
Leanne: 00:24:14 Really?
Maleka: 00:24:16 Yeah. Yeah.
Leanne: 00:24:17 So, so now that, now that you guys have the divorce in, I’m hearing from you like you want to be a better role model for your children and things like that. How old were they in this process?
Maleka : 00:24:32 Seven years ago. So terica was 13. okay. McKayla was 12 Jordan, maybe eight or nine and the little one was like four.
Leanne: 00:24:53 Okay. So there’s quite a range of. Yeah. So, so you say, so now you guys haven’t had parted ways and everything. what it, what changed in your life? What happened once that. Oh, what happened after that separation?
Maleka : 00:25:09 what happened after that? You know, what? Life really got crazy for me at that point. So we separated, I want to say in 2007, maybe officially in 2008 and then in 2009 in May, my grandmother passed and then six months later in December 2000 to 2009, my mom passed and then June 2010, my dad passed, so I didn’t have time to really process of a divorce or a separation. I was dealing with life and I think
Maleka : 00:25:46 a lot of people, including him, believed that that tragedy I was experiencing, I was supposed to go back with him and, and we figure it out and that was just one of my stances that I took that I wouldn’t let life tragedy bring me back to like the same dysfunction because that’s how we started. Like we had all of these things that were going wrong and we try to get together and make it right. So that didn’t make much sense to me. he reached out and tried to be there, but I didn’t let him.
Leanne: 00:26:21 Yeah, you weren’t, you weren’t ready for it. That’s a lot of loss, right? That’s a lot of loss in a short time. So, so here you, you experienced all of these deaths after a divorce and you have these four little ones. I are rating and not so little ones anymore. Right. And how, how did, how did that. So it sounds like it gave you more empowerment, like you were like, I’m going to make this work more determination.
Maleka: 00:26:49 Honestly, I just felt that because of the way life was happening for me and I didn’t go crazy, it just made me stronger in my faith. It made me believe that God had a purpose for me because people lose a cat and losing my, and I had to like financially even take care of these situations. So when I, when I looked at it, it just gave me strength. A lot of people were watching me as far as family. They were like, when is she gonna? Like lose it. and it wasn’t that type of situation. I think the, another one of the biggest things besides God giving me strength is I love my parents and my grandmother. I took care of him. I did everything that I could while they were here to let them know that I love him, so I didn’t have to have like, regret and try to live through the obituary, a fallout at the funeral because people do that when they hurt and it hurt it because they weren’t here and especially for my girls, but
Maleka : 00:27:51 I will, they were sick so I didn’t want to keep seeing them suffer the way that they were suffering and they weren’t fighting either to try to live. So that’s what they wanted and I was okay with that. You have to be okay with how people choose to live in sometimes even die. so that was what kept me strong.
The Boyfriend: 00:28:12 Internal strength in order to hold yourself up your kids up and not. I could see it. I, I’m here thinking, yeah, you’d want to go to something that’s familiar and comfortable to give you some structure in your life or something.
Maleka : 00:28:27 Yeah. that’s temporary relief
The Boyfriend: 00:28:28 Yeah. But that’d be like going back down, but you kept yourself strong in and held it together for everybody. That’s, that’s an impressive feat because a lot of people don’t have that kind of strength and resolve. They get through all of that tragedy at one time.
Maleka : 00:28:46 Well, it was definitely not me, you know, God inside of me. So yeah,
Leanne: 00:28:53 I mean I’m sure you had moments where it was hard and everything of course. But like what? At what point did you realize what your purpose was?
Maleka : 00:29:04 I’ve always wanted to like give back. My, the main thing was I just didn’t want my kids out and about in different places, so I needed to create something at home that for one they friends would think I’m cool enough to come and then they will feel secure and empowered without being over overbearing, you know, as a parent. So I just started having kids to come to my house, like afterschool. We started working out and going to the beach, doing sports, going to signal hill to workout. We did Bible Study of that’s where they were into. I’m never pushing what I on anybody because I felt like the light to shine through me. And if that’s what you want, fine. If not, then you know, life will work out for you. then we started doing like tutoring and I had a few parents that would like cook and bring, bring food over. We did life with Valentine’s date, a movie and dinner night. And there’s just different things to keep them busy. Actually that was the first goal is to keep them busy and input some responsible adults around them, whether they had it at home or not. It was what I was trying to provide.
Leanne: 00:30:10 So did you end up having with your four kids into all of their friends and stuff gradually just start coming and hanging out at your house?
Maleka : 00:30:16 Yes, but it was always structured, like people used to always say my home was, ran like a group home. there, there was always time for this time, for that. That’s just because I’m probably a control freak and I just need things to operate so that they can learn things happen at times. Like you just can’t be wowed. So there, it was pretty structured. and I wanted to open a group home. That was my goal. but when I went to find out the process of that information, they told me I needed to have a nonprofit and then when I got the, I don’t know what a nonprofit list honestly, and then when I found out what a nonprofit was, I was already doing that work, so I just put all my energy into that. But my favorite movie is Annie and I don’t know what came first, you know, wanting to be a, have a foster home or the movie. I don’t know which desire came first, but I want to be a better, mishandled,
Leanne: 00:31:10 not a bad thing to be. Right. So, so okay. So when you found out what a nonprofit wise and you’re like, wait a minute, I’m already doing this, how, what did you do? How was the process you just went and made the nonprofit?
Maleka: 00:31:24 That was that one and that was another painful experience because I had no money and no direction. I didn’t know what I was doing. So asked a few people in after being let down and understanding that people only move if you have money. I went to the library and got this book and nonprofit for Dummies and yeah, I just started following what it was telling me to do and then when it came to like filing the papers there were some rough days because like you have to pay for parking and sometimes I went to the wrong building and it was, it was a process, but it was worth it because now I have this amazing program and we’re helping a lot of families and now I’m enjoying the journey.
Leanne: 00:32:03 Wow. Okay. So I know what your program is. So you want to tell us a bit about how, how you ended up coming up with your name and deciding on what it was gonna actually be doing.
Maleka : 00:32:14 Okay. So I started with girls, just because I have four daughters and logically that makes sense. But I really liked boys and I like sports and football and stuff like that. So, I figured at one point I would let the boys in. I just didn’t know when. So,
Leanne: 00:32:32 and your daughters are old enough? I’m guessing. So I can pay attention to everything. Lose sight on what
Maleka : 00:32:40 was happening, but so yeah, we started, we started it and actually my last name, my last name is Chris now, but my maiden last name is long and my two older daughters, their last name is burning and my two younger daughters, last name is [inaudible]. So I wanted to create some type of legacy. So I had the lbl before I came up with the actual name. So I just sat there and tried to figure out what can we, what can we do to tell people the mission that we’re on. So love beyond limits came from our names are male names. They won’t ever change. Even if you get married, they’re still made names. Yeah. So, that’s where the name came from and I was just really on a mission to really love beyond limits once I came out of all of the anger and pain and dysfunction of my childhood and myself, dysfunction and self inflicted pain that, you know, I brought on myself.
Maleka : 00:33:40 I just didn’t want to go back to that. And it’s a very dark place when you know you want to be by yourself and you think the world is against you and everybody is out to get you. And it’s a dark place. So once I was really able to see light, I just wanted to love. One of my parents told me, she said, I think you’re addicted to love. And I was like, well, I’d never really heard that, but maybe I am, you know, are really liked to talk to people. I like to meet new people now. It was, that wasn’t me. I used to just stand back and watch what’s going on. So. So creating a nonprofit as totally transform your life. Yes, yes. The biggest thing is me come in to do stuff like this or me going to an elementary and talk to kids or me going to a junior college to talk to people that’s trying to do this field.
Maleka : 00:34:28 The more that I talk to people, even though I’m really shy and I don’t like to be like in the spotlight, it helps me be accountable. I don’t want to tell you something and you see me doing something different, so it’s very important for me to walk the talk, like when I tell people what I’m doing and tell people how I’m living and I’m telling you how you should better communicate with your kids and, and do certain stuff. It just makes me, I feel like God gives me the vision and then not talk to people about it, but it’s to fix me first. So that’s what I try to do is be very intentional on being the person that I’m trying to show you what. So what are some of the things I love beyond limits. I’m aware of some of them because of how I know you and everything, but.
Leanne: 00:35:16 So when you first started, was it just being able to find all of the activities and things that you’re doing within your community from your home?
Maleka: 00:35:24 Yes. Everything is still probably done the same way. Like I, I get money and then I figured out what to do with it because we don’t have grants and stuff yet, but we are looking for grant writers. If there’s one out there to help attention, attention, take a look at that, look at God, see? but yeah, we just, we started at the house and at that point when I found out, you know, that with the nonprofit was and got it established, I figured that I needed to come out of the House and actually get an office because people needed to take me serious cane. Like you don’t have all these kids at my house. They like girl that’s a daycare.
Maleka : 00:35:58 So I did get an office in Bixby and we’ve been working with a we service Longbeach, signal hills, south central compton and now San Bernardino. south central and compton is the areas that I made the worst choices and I just know that environment and you know, how to get to the kids and what sucked me into it and you know, how to, how to give them information and opportunities to make better choices. So that’s why, I serve as those areas. And then my kids obviously are from long beach and they went to school in Signal Hill. So I wanted to give an effort here and then I was a, I publish a workbook last November and when I was promoting it in Ontario, I met a principal that had us to come to two continuations in San Bernardino. So we, we don’t, we in Long Beach, but we service everybody.
Maleka : 00:36:49 We’re love beyond limits literally. So, we don’t have the good kids are the bad kids or the college bound kids. We have all the kids, we have different religions, different races, different ethnic backgrounds. We have a wide variety of kids we serve because they’re all the same when you put them together.
Leanne: 00:37:09 Yeah. So you wrote, you wrote this workbook.
Maleka: 00:37:12 Yes.
Leanne: 00:37:12 And tell me about more about the work bought come. What, what you use this tool for
Maleka: 00:37:17 the workbook, is, it’s all about the 13th stones. So the whole program has a foundation, excuse me, called 13 stones and I came up with that concept because people throw stones at you and I just want people to not dodge them but just accept who you are and build on them. So find out who you are, your past mistakes or whatever it is and just let that be your foundation that you build on as opposed to trying to avoid it. and then so it was things that I felt should have been taught in the home. Things I think that, you know, a regular families, if that’s what you want to call it, they instilled these values in the kids and then they go out into the world and they use them. But some people like me didn’t get them. So, that’s, that’s where it came from. I don’t know if I can name them all, but it’s image, love, respect, social skills, hygiene, meditation, accountability, the role of a mother, father and child abuse.
Maleka : 00:38:17 I feel like I’m missing too. but they can go to the website to find out more about those. but it was just really important. And even like the role of a mother, father and child, that’s definitely not to teach kids how to be parents is just to understand those roles. And in case they switch in case they’re absent, it helps to better communicate. My oldest daughter, she was very influential when it came to helping with the little kids, but when I got to a point where I understood that I needed to show my appreciation and, and tell her that this is not her job, she’s not their mom, but I do appreciate the help it, if it makes her feel better, opposed to, oh, she’s just making me do stuff or controlling me or not fared at these, not my problem, you know?
Maleka : 00:39:02 And that’s what a lot of parents deal with, whether it’s a single parent or two parents in the household, a lot of the times those roles switch and it becomes confusing even with terica helping at home when she go to school, she have to go back into the role of a child in order to listen to this teacher and follow rules and authority. So if that’s not communicated, it can get really crazy, especially for kids.
Leanne: 00:39:26 That’s a very good point because role is to change. Yeah. So, and you know this as you went through your own marriage, your own first marriage and then not having someone to look to. So when you’re working with these kids, what are some of the activities and stuff that you give them? I know in a previous conversation we had, you said a lot of these kids, they don’t know that they can do, they can, that they can, they can’t see farther than their own backyard because this is the world they know and they don’t know that they can go off and be, become a doctor or a lawyer because they don’t have that in their vision. Like they can’t see that far. Right?
Maleka: 00:40:05 so we just, we, we create opportunities. There’s a camp that the kids go to an Ohi and they’re there for four weeks. They learn computer literacy, they learn leadership, humanities, and they’re on campus with kids from Japan, China, Mexico, Vietnam, and Indonesia. And our kids are from Long Beach, Signal Hills, south central Compton in San Bernardino. When you put them all together and they learn about each other, that’s a experience that they might never experience again. But it gives them the outlook to see that people love different people except you different. There’s a lot that the world offers and you don’t have to, you know, stay close. The NCO environment, you don’t have to stay where you are to understand that because kids will adapt really anywhere you put them, especially if it’s a nurturing environment, but even dysfunction, the kid will adapt to that.
Maleka : 00:40:58 So it’s really important that we open up these opportunities and showed them a life outside of theirs is really important. We get to the parents too because a lot of mentoring programs, they want to, you know, they take the kids places, they instill value in the kids and they motivate the kids and inspire them and then they go into back into their home environment and it could cause more confusion because if the parent is still struggling or going through whatever they were going through, they might be looking at the kid like, well I’ve been trying to tell you to do this for years and you listened to a stranger or oh now you think you better knew me because you’re doing things and that’s not fair. Because the very thing you did to try to help a family, you cause more dysfunction. So we communicate with the kids and let them know at all times your parents or whoever raised you, that’s who’s in charge of you.
Maleka : 00:41:50 That’s the person that you love and respect. That’s the person like, don’t come respect me and high five me and go home and your parents out. That’s crazy. Communicate with your parents. Even if your parents are having a bad day, help your parents out. But effective communication is important. So if you’re in trouble, don’t go ask your parents. Let’s talk. CanNot tell you how I feel. No, you didn’t do the dishes and you didn’t do your homework. So that’s where the parents mind is. so we just try to teach them stuff like that to better communicate, to build those bonds because kids need their family no matter how inspiring we, we are in the public to him. They need the foundation that raised them and we can really help them altogether if we just stopped, you know, thinking that we, we the solution. I don’t think I’m the solution to the problem. I think I can help them fix, you know, whatever life is dealing now.
Leanne: 00:42:41 Wow, what a great concept that you’re incorporating, how to communicate with parents because you’re absolutely right. Going because I learned something today and I go home. That doesn’t mean the rest of my family was on that same page and there’s, there’s, there’s going to be a disconnect if I don’t know how to properly reengage with that because they’re not going to change.
The Boyfriend: 00:43:01 Right. But you’re also teaching the merge spect, respecting your elders, respecting or just respecting everyone around you, introducing them to other cultures and other other kids from around the world tells them to respect them and understand them and try to become a part of that instead of saying, Oh, you’re from somewhere else. I don’t want to see you and your bad or anything. So this. That’s amazing. We need more of this.
Maleka: 00:43:25 Well, thank you
Leanne: 00:43:27 and I know. So you had mentioned too, I’m at another conversation, another bring it up, but you had said a couple of key things that really stuck out to me about what you’re doing. And so you mentioned San Bernadino. We’re talking about this camp that the kids go off to and everything, and so not all kids, I mean this is a wide variety. It’s not just one type of child, you know, like you’re dealing with just a lot of different diverse group of people and so when they go to this camp and there’s kids from around the world, like some of them are from like really well to do families. Others are from families that don’t have a whole lot, but they’re connecting with the same message. Right?
Maleka : 00:44:08 Oh, kids are very common, like they have a lot in common and once you put them in a room together, you’ll see it in a lot of the times
Maleka : 00:44:19 the differences that we have, we just keep pushing that on the kids because they don’t really feel like that we had, I think you probably talking about one of the young ladies from camp that came from a wealthy family, but her interacting with the kids at camp. She never felt love. She never felt a part of a family. She never felt all of the genuine Karen and love that she got when she got to the camp. So our kids, our parents are struggling, you know, they don’t have money, they don’t have certain stuff and they just thinking like if I could just be in a rich family, everything will be okay. And this little girl is letting you know like, no, I live in Santa Barbara. They have money, they’re wealthy and she don’t even think that she matters to her parents. Her parents are working like to be wealthy, you have to establish that that’s understandable, but you still have to communicate with your kid.
Maleka : 00:45:10 You still have to be there. You can’t just send them to boarding schools and you know, send them off and have butlers and all of these other people to take care of your kids. It’s the same thing as a single mom from south central struggling with her kid. She’s going to work, she’s trying to figure it out and this kid is not only struggling emotionally, they struggling financially. So we have to always be aware that our kids are. They’re like, they didn’t ask to be here, they didn’t ask to be born. there’s a lot that is, you have to parent intentionally. It’s not easy. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it’s important and the kids are worth it and it’s not fair. When you choose something else, whether it’s work or him or her or whatever it is, and you don’t tend to your kids, and I’m not saying like, just let them take over your life.
Maleka : 00:46:01 Or are you just this overbearing parent where your kid is your best friend? No, but let them know the importance of who they are and respect is actually one of our stones. So it’s accepting differences. That’s just our definition of it except in differences because we come from different places. It doesn’t make us different and even if we don’t like the same things, we don’t have to be enemies. Even if we’re not friends, we don’t have to be enemies. We just respect people for who they are, where they came from. And if we can work together and enjoy life together, fine. If we can’t, then enjoy life over there. While I enjoy life over here, but our kids a lot, they don’t see that. Like it’s just always the role in the eyes. The mad at everybody, blame everybody. This person, this group, they did.
Maleka : 00:46:46 It is. They fought, we’re this, we’re that. No, we’re all together. Well,
Leanne: 00:46:56 a lot of adults need to hear the message. I’m like, yeah, we need. We need some of that and it’s so cool. How do you incorporate. What is your program like that incorporates? How do you incorporate the parents into this?
Maleka: 00:47:08 I call it the parent connection. That’s what I call it. So basically it’s not. Nobody wants to be counseled and nobody wants parents in classes like that’s not what it is. It’s literally a round table discussion. They kids are in the conference room, they’re doing the workshop whether somebody is coming in to do it or they have free time and the parents just get together and put it on the table. Like what’s happening in your house? What’s happening in your house? What’s working for you? What’s not working for you? That’s why it was really funny that they reacted to the facebook posts. About my 18 year old asked me, do I want to go on a double date? I guess people don’t do that. And I understand like, you know, maybe teenagers don’t do that, like little kids or little girls need mom and then 35 year olds need mom, but not the 18. They’re probably 30 year olds they doing they own thing. But we communicated like men, men. mckayla, that’s the daughter that asked me and we went to, we went to the football game and we went to eat. so it was nice. But we talk a lot. Even if there’s friction or tension, we communicate. If she have an attitude, I’m the one that say something. If I have an attitude, she didn’t want to say something. We’re not perfect. We just want to make progress. And when you want to love people and when you dealt with all the loss that we dealt with, you learned to cherish moments.
Maleka : 00:48:23 You learned to cherish people and not just, you know, hat hold grudges and be mad and angry because life is not promised. And the last thing I want my kids to do is for one, I don’t want somebody to think I’m cooler than they think I am like, love me while I’m here supporting me while I’m here and I do the same thing because if something happened, you do not want to be sitting, crying, wishing that you could have said something. There is no, there is no more time. And a lot of people that tear they life up. It’s here. They life for years they can’t get in relationships, they can’t trust anybody. They don’t want to love anybody because you could have took it out to the doctor appointment you didn’t want to or whatever it is, but you just love people while they’re here.
Maleka : 00:49:05 We don’t have a lot of time to play with. And if not, just stay away from. Don’t be mean. Don’t be mean. Don’t. It’s easier. And it took me time to get here. Like I love to hear me now, but it’s a process and you need something bigger than you in order to pull that off you. We all have problems. We all have backgrounds, we all have tragedy. We all have lost, we all have heartbreaks, but so you need some bigger than you in order to build you up to keep dealing with life like that. And it’s just so happened I choose Jesus. That’s, you know, that’s what I chose and that’s what gives me the strength to keep going and it’s working. It’s working. Yeah.
The Boyfriend: 00:49:54 Can you tell us about the individual programs? Like you said you incorporate sports and so what’s it like for a kid to come in and be a part of it?
Maleka : 00:50:04 Wonderful. It depends on what it is. So every stone has his own things going on. So when we talk about image or self esteem, we’re usually talking about how we feel on the inside, how we, how we present ourselves on the outside. It’s not about people liking us or us being people pleasers, but it’s really about understanding that people work well. My, like if someone buys a Lamborghini and they’re single and they buy a Lamborghini and then they get all of these women attention and they like, oh, she just want me for my car. That’s exactly what you worked hard to get the attention, so when we okay with that, then we understand that you want to work hard and you want to be successful and you want to do stuff because who wants to be around somebody that has nothing, like who wants to be around someone not getting good grades, who wants to be around somebody that just is not happy?
Maleka : 00:50:57 So as far as self esteem, you have to build yourself up. To be presentable is important. You don’t have to look like everybody or act like everybody, but you need to be welcoming. And My mother used to say, don’t let somebody hate to see you coming. Like, that’s not cool. Right? Soon as they turned the corner and you, they’re like, oh, here she comes. No, I don’t want people to feel like that. So each song has its own thing. When we talk about education, we talk about colleges, we talk, we talk about entrepreneurship. Our education definition is learning from any, everywhere, learning from all aspects of life. So you can learn from a family, you know, maybe you see a family that’s together, you see traits that you want, you see things that mom do that you want to be light, you see sports that the kids do or whatever it is.
Maleka : 00:51:47 You pick that stuff up and you put in your toolbox and you pull it out when, when the time is right under our meditation stone. That’s not like sitting and meditating. It’s what you continue to put in your ears and eyes is, which will be so understand that when you meditate on this music or are you meditating on these shows or whatever it is, don’t be trying to figure out why you pop it off in class or why are you cussing out girls because you watch bad girls club for nine months straight hair day. so, you know, stuff like that as an important. Again, I talked about the roles and love. I am a firm believer that love does not hurt. People say love hurts. I don’t believe that losing love, abusive love that hurts but not the genuine concept. But bluff.
Maleka : 00:52:34 So we talk about that. Accountability is the biggest one. That’s our biggest stone. That’s the first one I usually bring out to any group because we all have struggles. You can’t go through life blaming people. At some point I got grown and I had kids and there was no longer, it was no longer fair that I blamed my mom for not giving me what I needed or blame my dad for leaving or whatever it was. And that’s why I’m a parent raggedy. That’s why I’m going to just do, have a job. Almost cussed, that, that, you know, I did have with job because I didn’t get it. No, that’s not fair. You accountable. You do what you supposed to do. You do the right thing and you take your problems, you take whatever life has dealt you and you make it a better, you know, make, make, make yourself a better person, opposed to making that with you.
Maleka : 00:53:25 Blame everything on. what other stone, abuse. We talk about abuse, which is important. We actually don’t spend a lot of time on abuse, because we try to stay on the heavy stones, but abuse is very important and it’s not just about physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and understand when somebody is talking to you crazy all the time, you don’t have to stay in that environment. That’s not cool. And then on the token, older parents, if your parents are, you know, talking to you in a negative form when they not talking to you in a negative form is when you should address that and try to get them to understand that it does hurt, you know, it’s not, people say stuff and it doesn’t matter. Yeah, because you hear the kids all the time. I don’t care what they say, I don’t care what they say.
Maleka : 00:54:11 Yes you do. You do. And be okay with that. Be Okay with that and process. So we want to process emotions, process they thought so they can make better actions. So do you do all of these? So when you do activities you get together and that you have like group discussions and activities based on those topics and those kinds of things. And then where do these things take place? Do they now? They’re no longer are necessarily all out of your home. You have an office but you go to schools or. Yes. So we’ve worked with signal hill elementary. we had two fourth grade classes and we had a fifth grade class that we did for three years. I actually had a second grade class at that school. There’s a continuation in south central core y o you youth opportunities unlimited. That’s actually a school I graduated from.
Maleka : 00:54:58 so I was there for three years during the workshops and when I do the workshops again, I don’t have all the answers. So I bring people in. When we did our, image and self esteem over there, we had a lady to come in and do hair and makeup to show them like, you know, this is a school look, this is the interview. Look, I guess Y’all club. So this is the club look. So we want to just, you know, instill all of those values in him. when we went to San Bernardino and did our role of a father, I have five fathers. We had a, I’m a chiropractor, a rapper, I’m a guy that he does a few things. He worked with human trafficking, but he also, as R and b artists. Then we had, my husband actually was on the panel and we talked to these girls about the role of a father.
Maleka : 00:55:44 Now it’s a really safe environment because if these guys have ever let the kids down there not here so you can be open if these young ladies, you know, are broken hearted because of they fathered, they not here so you can express that. And then we actually have boys in there. But it was a very good outcome. Like it was. They learned a lot. Even a dad’s learned a lot about how they really felt about their fathers. And there was a part where we ask the DAS to apologize to a broken child. Whether you broke a child or you know, you just apologize. And some of the young ladies were like, they just wanted to talk today day and take some pressure off of them because they were expecting things from him that they didn’t, they didn’t know it was more from the mom, so they didn’t even know how to be okay with a dad father in a way that he was bothering because these guys came in here and say the same thing.
Maleka : 00:56:36 So it was, it was a really good experience. So that’s what we do. We bring our, brought a entrepreneur. She has a roofing company, so she hurt. She talking to the kids about how she came over here in the trunk of a car and now she’s legal now. But she, went through all of this torment in, in a lot of abuse growing up. And she owns her whole company and doing very well. So we bring all of that. Yeah, we, we just bring more opportunities. The more opportunities, the more people from different walks of life that you put in front of these kids, the more opportunity you have to really become the person they supposed to be or not. The people they see around them.
Leanne: 00:57:17 Yeah. Remarkable. And if you have something,
The Boyfriend: 00:57:20 I’m just amazed because it is, it’s, it’s, this is missing. It’s missing from today’s like you said, parents are busy, they’re out there working, they don’t provide these life skills to kids in. And you are. This is, this is impressive because kids come in and they don’t know what to wear, how they should be in the classroom. I don’t know these things, but you’re providing it to them at a young age so they can be, they can present themselves in respect your elders and respect everybody. And it’s just, I don’t know. It’s just life skills that everyone needs to have and it could make the world a much better place and yeah, and most people don’t get them. And it doesn’t matter where you’re from most. Most kids don’t get them today.
Leanne: 00:58:05 And what a great concept to bring in actual dad’s talking to young women about the role of a father. I mean how many who has ever had a conversation like that? I certainly haven’t. Like you don’t get that. Something you just don’t get. But we need and the other really cool thing that I’m hearing is like, you open the, you opened the conversation, you opened the door for all of these conversations to happen and then kids suddenly can ask these questions and you, I mean you don’t know what you don’t know and suddenly you bring in all of these things so that they can see where their own eyes and ears like this. Here’s this remarkable woman who wasn’t even from this country, came here in a trunk of a car of all things and now she’s owns a roofing company. Like that’s something that kids need to see because what they see on tv as the Kardashians who like, I don’t know how it whatever, but like it’s stuff that’s not, not the norm. It’s not normal. And I think we get stuck in like what it should be like based on movies or what we see on tv or something that’s created out of someone’s imagination versus what’s actually real. And Real. People do amazing things all the time. And I don’t think kids have the opportunity to see that. So what you’re doing is such a gift, providing them the information through role models, through education, through teaching, through experiences, through everything to prepare them for life. That’s amazing. Yeah.
Maleka : 00:59:38 Because I mean, it happens on this part of our life, like it happens when we’re growing, but why not help them when they’re actually experiencing it?
Leanne: 00:59:45 Why do you want to have to wait until you’re 40 to start?
The Boyfriend: 00:59:48 We’re just imagine what these kids are going to do.
Leanne: 00:59:50 That’s the goal. That’s the goal. So you mentioned you worked with second graders, fourth graders, fifth graders and like, so what’s the, what’s the youngest that you work with?
Maleka : 01:00:01 Our girls are seven slash 17 and our boys are 12 to 17. So the boys didn’t make it in a program. wow. On the journey as signal hill elementary, I had about nine boys to write me a letter. So I was doing a class and it was coed and after the class I always give the girls the opportunity to join us at the office or you know, whatever we’re doing for different events. And the boys was like, why are we never get. Why he never us? so I said write a letter and tell me why. And they said things like, you know, I just want to follow rules. I just want somebody to know that I can be good. I want to learn how to throw a football because I know you can throw a football. There was different things like that.
Maleka : 01:00:39 So when you give a kid, you just got to give these kids an opportunity. You just got to give them opportunity. And I would love to be able to work more with teachers, understanding the dynamics of the families and then the parents understanding the struggle of this one person with these 35 people from different places. If we all can have that conversation, we can make the kids more accountable and stop letting them go home and say, my teacher don’t like me. And then coming back to the school and telling the teacher that, my Mama said, I don’t have to listen to you. It happens all the time. these parents give kids, licensed to, you know, go to school and be managed because the rose again, the roles. But that’s a conversation that the teachers definitely need to have because we need teachers and, but we need to support them. I know a lot of teachers catch, a headache from administration. They don’t even get support there. so when you’re not getting supported at the top and then you got these little people at the bottom, it gets very uncomfortable. And I know teachers, you know, I, I really take my hat off to teachers because it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of work and you definitely have to be doing it because you care. We just need a again to have that conversation. Yeah.
Leanne: 01:01:53 Wow. So if our listeners are everywhere in the world and if they want to reach out to you and everything, I want to make sure that we put like, are your, all your information in the show notes will be there for, on our website and when they look at the episode online, so it will be available to them. But if, if people want to reach out to you, like what, you know, like I’m, I’m motivated, like,
Maleka : 01:02:17 oh, got, I want to help out. What do I do? What, what would you say to them?
Maleka: 01:02:23 Contact me,
Maleka : 01:02:24 call me five, six. I just want to see what my follow ever be to a point where I need to change the number five, six to no seriously just get involved. There are so many things. We need mentors. If you got to somewhere else in the world and you want to support a young person or you want to get involved with what we’re doing, a reach out to us, check us out on social media. we always need money. So we have donation page, I got cash, APP, Venmo, all of the direct checks. Anything you want to do. But there’s a lot, a lot of ways you can help if you doing something spectacular on another side of the world, send us a video. Let me show the kids what you’re doing, what you’re into, how you can motivate them. There’s a lot of ways we have mentors you can email or you can get involved with kids like that. but the most thing is just care and if you are somewhere far, get, get active in your backyard. Really helped the kids around you get out there. You don’t need a lot of money, you don’t need to be famous. You don’t need to have a big space, you know, one or two kids to just believe in them. Yeah, that’ll be great.
Leanne: 01:03:31 That’s great advice too. It’s like start in your own backyard, you know, start at home like you did. That’s exactly where you started right at home with your own.
Maleka: 01:03:41 Yeah. I coulda wait until somebody gave me a big building or a big grant in order to do big things, but
Leanne: 01:03:48 every little bit helps. Absolutely. It helps. Wow. So impressed. I am so glad that you came and spent time with us today because you’re inspiring. You really are tremendous
Maleka : 01:04:01 It was a lot less tense. Then I thought you guys are very cool. Congratulations.
Leanne: 01:04:05 Stepping out of your box and in and out of your comfort zone.
Linkedin Maleka Long