Archived Blog Posts (2016)
WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO STRUGGLE FOR?
I read this amazing article the other day that wasn't necessarily geared toward 20 Somethings but it sure touched a cord in this 20 Something! I just had to share. Stop reading this blog right now and go read THIS article, like RIGHT NOW!
Okay, now how great and simple is that concept?! Often times we think about all the great things we want to accomplish in life and while we do think through some of the steps in order to achieve these goals, I don't know if we are hyper focused on the crap that really isn't that favorable. If we did-- half of us wouldn't actually feel confident in doing it and the other half would still be dreaming about doing it!
But the question that the article continued to raise, What are you willing to struggle for? is an overlying question that this blog has addressed in several posts. Mainly, the what ifs and the am I good enoughs? I feel like this article is an answer to how to solve those questions. We have these questions because we haven't truly buckled down and decided what we're willing to struggle for in order to achieve our goals; thus eliminating the what ifs and knowing for a fact we are enough, because we worked our asses off to achieve a certain goal.
If we sat down with ourselves (I suggests everyone does this often, whether in meditation or in prayer) and hashed out what we're willing to take or do that is incredibly uncomfortable in order to achieve our goals, I believe that we'd all be more self aware. Self awareness is at the cornerstone of success. Knowing what we're capable of naturally and then knowing what we'd have to do in order to reach another level of greatness is a formula for success.
To quote a line from the article, "happiness requires struggles." Oh, does it ever! When is the last time you were sublimely happy? Did it come easy? Did you have to tireless work at it? Nurture it? Bleed for it? Cry for it? Work for it? I'm sure if you sought out the origin of your happiness a struggle is surely at the crux. And in the end the struggle was well worth it because of the ultimate outcome!
I've made a short list of goals I'm willing to struggle for. Some I've wanted to achieve for years and foolishly realized that I never wanted to really be uncomfortable for them. So I'm getting uncomfortable in 2016. I'm going to leap out there on faith and bust my ass. I'll probably scrape a knee, cry, have terrible anxiety or get heartbroken BUT I know I'll be a step closer to some of the happiest moments of my life!
Have a wonderful weekend 20 Somethings,
SO WHAT DO I DO WITH MYSELF?!
So I've recently written about giving yourself a time out when you realize that you're going a mile a minute. In this post, I want to talk about some things that I do to unwind and properly take a step back.
I love to organize when I'm stressed. There's something about dealing with the little things that I can control that is comforting. I buy bins, label, sort and clean everything. I also play music in the background. Focusing on something task by task gives me a sense of accomplishment, because as I get things done I see that I can actually GET THINGS DONE.
Light candles and play music. Sometimes sitting still in a lowly lit room is all I need to relax a bit. I've been doing this all week before bed and I can honestly say I've been going to sleep quicker. My thoughts do not trail to to-do lists either! I seriously just zone out and then fall asleep. It's GREAT!
GO OUTSIDE! Being in the sun on a day where there's a cool breeze is seriously the BEST way to give yourself a time out. I sit outside on our porch in the rocking chair and just close my eyes. Even if it's for a little while, it's always nice to feel the sun on your face.
Cook a good meal or go out and treat yourself to a good meal. There's nothing more rewarding than cooking a good healthy and yummy meal. It goes back to that sense of accomplishment I was talking about earlier. You set forth a task, you work at it and you complete it. You're hitting all the major steps and seeing the end product much sooner than you would for most other projects. It’s very rewarding. And who doesn’t love a nice dinner?! You don’t have to cook or wash the dishes! You just have to show up and enjoy.
Take yourself to the movies. Grab some popcorn or sneak your fave candy in and enjoy! When I need to unwind I typically go for romantic comedies or hardcore action films!
If you haven't noticed the overlying theme of the 5 suggestions I personally enjoy doing is BEING ALONE. Well not alone, alone--but not being with a friend, family member or someone like that. I say this because a time out is meant to be spent ALONE. We spend so much of our lives accommodating others, basing what we want to do on others and in some ways living for others. These timeouts are for you. We have plenty of time attaching ourselves to spouses, children, aging parents and friends, so why not take the time you need for YOURSELF and mental health.
Have a wonderful Humpday 20 Somethings, go do something for yourself!
Everyday can turn into a serious marathon. You wake up, get ready, go to work, work 8 or more hours a day, try to exercise afterwards, take care of any errands that can be done after work, get home to cook or meet folks for dinner, get home and try to prepare to do it all over again the next day. Oh! And for those that are even more ambitious you're doing school work, extra jobs, pursuing other entrepreneurial facets and the many other responsibilities I can't even wrap my brain around.
So when in the hell do we slow down?!
Most of us say when we're dead. I'm here to say that--that's just not okay. Sometimes we must put ourselves in serious time outs! If that means saying no to going out this weekend or even taking a mental health day from work. If you don't listen to your body, your body will tell you in scary ways. Giving yourself that time to breathe is a key to a healthy life. This world will keep spinning even when you've spun yourself out of control. Balance. That's a concept that I too have to learn. Sometimes we can give ourselves to too many things. We can't always tell work, our friends, family or whatever--yes. Sometimes we have to say no, my mental health is worth much more than all of this.
When I take a time out I enjoy lighting candles, reading and listening to music in a quiet space. No phone, television or any other electronic. It's a reconnection with myself. Sometimes I take a drive with my sunroof open with the music blasting. I also enjoy being outside. It's something about reconnecting to nature that is truly so healing and relaxing. Even doing things that just make you happy can improve your current busied mental state. Going to grab your favorite Starbucks drink, shopping for flowers, eating at your favorite place for lunch by yourself or whatever makes YOU happy. Do it!
Time outs are necessary for the soul. Don't get bogged down in the constant need to keep going with no end in sight. Stop. Breathe. And take care of yourself first.
Have a wonderful weekend 20 Somethings! Do something just for you!!
DON'T TAKE ALL OF MY STUFF. I NEED THIS STUFF.
"When you're truly changing you'll notice, you'll be stripped of everything that no longer has a place in your evolution." -Alex Elle
This quote above really speaks to my soul. I used to hang on to all this 'stuff,' like people that were no good, relationships that hurt my spirit, friends that really were never my friend--heck there's even some family that I realized I needed to love from afar. I used to grip so tightly to this stuff it weighed me down—it weighed down my spirit. I thought I'd be empty if I let go of this stuff.
It's so funny what we accomplish when we open ourselves to change and evolution. I am a believer in God. So I asked Him, please remove whatever is blocking me from being the very best me, the happiest me, the peaceful me, the joyful me, the loving me, the carefree me... I asked Him 2 years ago. It didn't happen all at once, but somewhere along the way I realized I started losing stuff. People that I thought were genuine--I started seeing ways that just didn't align with how I lived my life. Love I thought I had for some people--gone, because it really was a parasitic relationship. I stopped allowing certain people to get under my skin. There were people who I stopped hearing from or only heard from when they needed something--which showed me it's okay that only 2 handfuls of people make sure I’m doing okay. It’s okay that only a few people have cried with me at bars and pools because of how genuine the bond is. It's okay that my call log or iMessage log is short. Those are the ones that count. That stuff is good stuff. That’s the stuff that life is made of.
At first I fought it. I tried to collect the stuff again. I tried to justify the hurt feelings, side-ways compliments and the faux love... But then something magical happened--I started letting stuff go. Because I was becoming a better me--it didn't sit well with my spirit anymore to allow this to happen. I started releasing and being okay with all of the stuff leaving my life. I became light and happier. The evolution started and I can happily say it continues.
This life is so very short. I say this so much on the blog because I really want to stress that our 20s is a BLESSING. The lessons we're learning, the stuff we're letting go for the better, the heartbreaks, the confusion, the frustration... all of it is shaping us into these people that will influence and change the world. Really, I think the sheer existence of each and every one of you changes the world for the better. We're all 1 of 1. How awesome is that?! I urge you all to take stock of all of your 'stuff.' Is it benefiting your evolution? Are you happy? Or are you weighed down my lugging it around? Along this journey allow yourself to be void of all the stuff. Keep it simple. Life is simple. We make it complicated.
Have a wonderful weekend 20 Somethings!
THE YEAR OF 26: WHAT HAVE I EVEN ACCOMPLISHED?!
o it's almost the 6 month mark of my 26th year of life. WOW! Time has FLOWN by--in that time span I can honestly say I've grown. Isn't that a blessing?! To be able to visibly see your personal growth? I've met challenges and personal obstacles that didn't completely take me out the game! Hell that's a feat all in itself! I've laughed SO much I've cried but I haven't really cried that many sad tears if any, honestly. Sadness just isn't an emotion I let myself get to--in the past my sadness has been rooted in self-doubt, self-pity or depression. So no--these past 6 months hasn't even been sprinkled a little bit with those feelings. Huh?! It's something to my madness--has to be! Now, I'm not saying I haven't doubted myself these past 6 months, I just haven't allowed my doubt to cripple my ability to try anyway! That my friends is the true lesson.
So where am I on my little "life list" for my 26th year of life... I've copied the original list below with some editor's notes:
I want to continue to feel sublimely peaceful. doing!
I want to feel the magic again. ope, no magic just yet...
I want to feel unconditional love from myself. doing
I want to feel confident in my abilities. doing
I want to feel motivated about writing again. doing--working on a LOT of things at one time. I totally need to focus, because I think it'll be my best work yet.
I want to feel the wonder of dreaming big again. doing--it's tough because reality can taint the innocent sense of believing in dreams.
I want to feel limitless. not just yet... I totally cap myself off a lot of times in a lot of situations.
I want to feel calm. even when everything is chaotic I have an inner peace that I can't even put in words.
I want to feel busy but productive. doing--happily!
I want to feel needed. jury is still out on this one. I don't know if I'm needed or nice to have around...
I want to feel healthy. getting there thanks to some REAL lifestyle changes (I'll write about it soon trust me!).
I want to continue feeling happy. doing!
I want to continue feeling confident in my truth and feelings. doing--and I won't ever go back to being scared of living in my truth and my true feelings out of fear it'll make some people exit my life.
I want to see more of the world. trips are booked for some foreign locations... stay tuned!
I want to see the next chapter of my career. getting even closer than I thought I would 6 months ago!
I want to see more smiles than tears. done!
I want to see my own professional growth. doing in a big way--I finally decided what I actually want to be when I grow up :) & made a BIG stride to get there.
I want to see the sunset on the beach. not yet
I want to see more friends that live in other cities. doing
I want to see nights that turn into mornings with great friends. doing--with champagne in my hand!
I want to see a healthy romantic relationship. not yet
I want to see the best parts of myself instead of my flaws. trying to do daily
I want to see my purpose on Earth effect someone for the better. hopefully I'm doing it for someone in some capacity...
I want to see my family flourish. happening! Shout out to my youngest bubba going to the University of South Carolina for Computer Engineering & Technology in the Fall!!
I want to see Adele in concert. I tried. I really, really tried. But she sold out in MINUTES!
I want to see my purpose for life come to fruition. hopefully that's happening... I'm working on my part though. The rest is in God's hands in His timing.
Thanks for walking with me on my journey. I hope along the way my blunders, life lessons and truths help you in some capacity. I've said this for as long as I can remember--I just want to say I've helped one person before I die. Like really help that person--deeply. Even if it's just one person, I'll know that my time here on this Earth was worth it.
ave a great rest of the week 20 Somethings!
20 SOMETHING DATING: TOO STRONG FOR A MAN?
I'm constantly surrounded by strong women. I was raised by a strong woman. So naturally, I am very comfortable with myself, my views, beliefs, morals and feel very comfortable giving my thoughts on subjects I'm knowledgeable about BUT why does it seem like all of these great characteristics scare so many men?!
I know, I know--if it scares him, you probably shouldn't be with him. BUT is that true? Is it me? I'm speaking generally--because this post subject was brought to me by a reader. Should we sway our friends to tone down in order to be successful in dating?
I'm going to go with yes and no... Don't kill me for not taking a stance one way or the other. Here's my reasoning...
I think not coming on too strong in the beginning is simply smart. The first time I start talking to a guy I don't automatically tell him how strongly I feel about vaccinating children, the death penalty or equal pay for men and women. These are things that I have VERY strong opinions about but these types of things are WAY too heavy for the initial stage of dating. Get to know each other on the surface and work your way to these topics. I personally have HARD no's when it comes to a man and his opinions. If certain beliefs of his do no align with mine or if I feel like he doesn't have a valid reason to be in opposition of my opinion (on certain topics) then it's a no-go for me. BUT those things take time to learn about each other. And maybe, at the end of the day those hard no's are outweighed by many other qualities that you do enjoy.
If you've made it past the "talking/ initial dating" stage and you're in a committed relationship--all is fair. I believe relationships are safe havens. I should be able to tell you exactly how I feel and why without you holding it against me or not giving me a chance to explain. Debating is healthy. And a smart strong-willed partner can be very attractive. If you're both strong-willed and you WANT the relationship to work, you'll figure out ways to compromise without compromising your true self.
I do NOT think you should change the essence of who you are to be in a relationship or for another person. Though some change is good and necessary for growth--you should always stay true to who you are.
Have a great humpday 20 Somethings!
THAT'S JUST NOT OKAY.
I have always tried to use my voice for those that I felt were being marginalized. I identify unapologetically as a feminist; I voice my opinion about civil rights for the LGBTQ community, black and brown people and the poor. I have lived such a privileged life—I’ve traveled, I work with a diverse group of individuals, my parents are very tolerant despite when and where they grew up, I personally never felt the strain of lack of finances and though I have felt loss—I am not tainted by it. My daddy was in the ARMY so we moved to many different places and our neighbors all looked different and came from different places too. My brothers and I were taught at the bare minimum to tolerate and respect everyone. It doesn't matter who, how they look, how they speak or where they come from--EVERYONE deserves respect. We grew up, our views evolved and we have our own opinions about things but all in all the basis of how we treat others is the same--we respect everyone.
Respect. That's a very simple concept but a loaded action. Recently, I have been grappling with what makes a person, more specifically, what make a man respect a woman. Who teaches a man about how to respect women? I remember my daddy telling my brothers, you don't hit girls. Or always treat your mother and your sister right. But I don't remember open dialogues about what's right and wrong when communicating, perusing or even details on what is considered sexual consent or not. I know that they personally each had these conversations with my parents and as we've gotten older we have very open conversations about current events involving these issues so I know that they understand— but is that the norm? Does that happen in everyone’s household? So I ask again, who is teaching men about all of this?
I say all of this because recently I was sexually harassed. And it has taken me some time to process it all. Listen, this is not the first time for me. I've been groped, cat-called and sent penis pictures via social media unwarranted—it spans the gamut. This is nothing new. BUT that's what makes this situation so unique for me. Because THIS IS NOTHING NEW. An older gentleman I've had minimal contact with at work had my number because he repaired something at my parents' home. We had about 2 conversations via text to coordinate this repair since both my parents live out of the state. My daddy was the one that met him at our home for the repair and my daddy is the one that paid him and finished the entire interaction. At work I smile when I see him--to be polite and not totally disregard him since of course he did repair something in our home. So then about 2 or 3 months later I see him in the elevator, with a co-worker of mine, and the three of us discuss the weather we've been having for the minute it takes the elevator to reach our floor. I mostly only contribute to the conversation because I didn't want to totally ignore him; again I was being polite.
Moments later I'm back at my desk and I receive a text message from him. I haven't had contact with this man for more than likely 3 months and it was never casual messages--always about coordinating the home repair. In the message he said that I LOOKED like I had something to ask him. As soon as I read his message I knew that the conversation would make me uncomfortable and that his intentions were not strictly business-related. I told him no, but that my dad may have some home repair questions soon since we are putting our house on the market. I thought maybe by bringing up my daddy it would steer the conversation in the right direction and end it. He says okay. He then texts me AGAIN, saying that he is not shy and for me to feel free to ask him anything I want to know. HERE is where I make a mistake: I said, perfect--I sure will. I was hoping that my short answer--which don’t warrant a response, could just end the conversation all together. But of course it does not. I shouldn’t have responded at all—at least that’s what I could have done on my part to avoid the next message... He then says, I promise not to bite, unless I ask him to. PAUSE. This is sexual harassment. The sexual innuendo, the fact that he texted these things to me but didn’t have the gall to say it in front of my male co-worker in the elevator. The fact that he texted these things at all—IS sexual harassment. Some men will read this and disagree.
sex·u·al ha·rass·ment (noun) harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks.
This is by definition the epitome of sexual harassment. Yes, something this “small.” THIS IS NOT OKAY. This man has decided in his head that in some way I have indicated that his sexual advances are somehow warranted. That somehow in our very small and limited interactions he felt emboldened to advance me sexually. That somehow he knew me so well that he felt that I was someone that was okay with sexting him knowing that he is in a relationship and has children (he informed my mother of this when he was doing the repair). This man thought that these messages were okay to send me while HE was at work and I was too. He felt justified—brave even, to use my personal number to sexually advance me. OR he didn’t consider me at all and decided that what HE wanted was more important than how I would react or how it would make me feel. I ask you all again, who teaches some of these men that this is okay?
I ended the conversation with a text message that my (male) co-worker came up with because I was shocked and mortified, saying thanks, I’m flattered but we’ll have to keep these interactions professional. To which he responded, Ha ha no problem. He had the audacity to laugh it off.
I’m actually upset with myself about my last text message. I was too nice. I should have made him just as uncomfortable. I should have asked him if he bit his wife or if his supervisor knew how shy he wasn’t at work… I should have informed him what sexual harassment meant and that he was currently engaging in it. I shouldn’t have worried about being a bitch (something that I actually cared about when sending the last message because I didn’t want to further make our run-ins around the building awkward). I CARED about HIS feelings, why didn’t I care about mine more? Which leads me to my next question, who teaches women about respecting themselves in these situations?
I didn’t respect myself in this interaction. I didn’t care about myself in this instance. When I was unwantedly groped several times before, cat-called or told to smile by some man I didn’t even know—I didn’t respect myself then either. I laughed it off, ignored it or actually smiled just so they could leave me alone. And that’s just not okay. I’m not okay with just letting it go anymore. Because if I let it go—then the young girl who receives penis pictures via Snapchat from the middle school boy unwarranted will think she too should just let it go too. She doesn’t deserve to feel uncomfortable. She doesn’t deserve to feel like if she says something it will only be met with—that’s just what young boys do. She doesn’t deserve for her friends (who are just as uninformed), to make fun of her and say she’s acting like prude or telling her that means the boy really likes her. She deserves respect.
So here’s where I am with the entire thing—what do I do next? This whole inappropriate text message conversation is not the end of my world. It is however, the catalyst to me realizing that I have to do more. I have to open the lines of communication with others that are in agreeance and those that aren’t. There are men that honestly don’t understand consent or inappropriate interactions with women. There are young kids that don’t understand that a penis picture in your DM does not equate to the other person liking you. There are young girls that simply don’t understand they must demand respect from everyone. Also, I am not intentionally excluding those in non-heteronormative relationships—I just personally can’t speak for them but I am open to having a guest blogger talk about this very situation in regards to their experiences because sexual assault and harassment doesn’t just pertain to the male-female interaction. I too will advocate from them too. This post is deeply important to me—I say this a lot on the blog, but I think that there are so many stories out there that deserve to be heard. There are lessons in them all. There are men that understand the very complicated yet simple concept about respect and consent—I’d like to hear from them. Their contribution to the narrative is just as important. They are the other half to this solution. In the coming weeks, I plan to do more research, figure out how I can become more involved than just monetarily donating to these causes. This hit home in a way that it probably wouldn’t have a couple years ago. In my early 20s these things were just something that happened that I just let go. Well, this 20 Something is over it. I’m not saying I will totally change the dialogue surrounding this very important topic or how society handles this subject—but I will certainly try.
If you have any questions, would like to share a personal story or just need to talk you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
As always 20 Something have a wonderful week,
I have been trying to figure out a way to release some of the frustration I am feeling about the state of the union. It's heartbreaking and hurtful. I have so many emotions about it but sometimes it's like beating a dead horse or like I can't be clear enough. People who don't want to listen, won't. And the people who do--have heard it or said it all before. I'm becoming disheartened, but I know for sure that there are people who are aching and just as frustrated as I am. There are black men out there that need to hear that you are indeed supported and championed.
I write creatively for myself but it's very different for me to post it. I am NOT a poet. There's nothing stylistically poetic about this poem except that it is a written as a full story with multiple characters that is kind of a speech and kind of a song with a certain rhythmic style to it, but it is my truth.
My breast aches for my son.
He cries but I cannot hear his sobs.
He begs to be held but my arms are not long enough to reach him.
My milk begins to dry.
My heart aches for my son.
He yells out in pain but I cannot comfort him.
He reaches out to me as he falls to the ground but I cannot catch him.
My heart begins to harden.
They bring me another child, one that doesn’t look like my son.
My milk flows again and I suckle this child because he cries in hunger.
He begs to be held and I hold him. But he is not my son.
My heart is cold.
My son lies in his own blood and no one runs to his aid.
He’s dying but no one saves him.
I’m not close enough to reach him. To save him.
They let my son die.
I have no heart.
They tell me my son has been sold to another plantation.
He was given a name that’s not mine.
I will never know my son.
I buried my son today.
A hoodie is the reason he died.
They thought he was a criminal so they shot him.
He didn’t get a chance to become a man.
This child that I suckled from my own milk grows tall.
He yells in the backyard as he plays blonde curls bouncing in the sun.
He grows up to become a man.
Our Sons, they may never give you a chance.
But we never stopped fighting for you. We never will.
We fed other children because they wouldn’t let us feed you.
They took you from us and sold you then and they’re shooting you now.
But we, together, will overcome this.
Because you are Our Sons.
here's a few lessons I promised myself I would learn and stick to by the age of 25. And I can honestly say for the most part I have.
1. You do not have to participate in anyone hurting your feelings or making you feel uncomfortable. There is no one or anything that will make me stick around in a situation where I know I will be uncomfortable or I'll have to deal with someone that has proven to be rude or disrespectful to me. That type of negativity and discomfort is not worth it. I'm not saying that I don't deal with people that I don't particularly like--but for those that I realize I just can't find respectful common ground with, I do not deal with.
2. I do not do anything that I truly do not want to do and I don’t apologize for it. If whatever is being done conflicts with my spirit or how I'm feeling, I'm honest and I don't do it. I have realized that I have to live for me. If I'm exhausted and I know I still have things to take care of at home, I just say I can't do it. To certain people, I do explain--but for the most part, I do not feel like I have to explain myself or apologize. This doesn't mean that I WON'T do things that I don't want to do, because I do depending on the circumstance, but when my heart of hearts tells me to sit it out or take care of myself first, I do.
3. I do not apologize for things I did not do or say I'm okay when I'm not. I had a horrible habit of saying I'm sorry all the time. No matter the situation or if I even had anything to be sorry for I would apologize. I am a people pleaser and I don’t like to see anyone upset or hurt. But constantly taking on everyone’s hurt and trying to fix it was hurting me. So I stopped. Because A) I'm not a "sorry" person (I prefer the phrase, I apologize) and B) because everyone needs to take accountability for their own actions and reactions. But when I truly need to apologize I do.
4. Being okay with being wrong and admitting when I hurt someone’s feelings. This kind of calls number 3 into play--when I'm wrong I admit it. Sometimes it takes me a minute to calm down but I try to always apologize and find some resolve when I'm wrong. The best thing I've learned is we don't always have to agree but we don't ever need to hurt each other’s feelings. When someone tells you that you hurt their feelings--believe them, and don't get defensive about it just apologize for hurting their feelings. Then have a conversation on how you hurt their feelings (language you used or lack of communication), why (what did they hear you say (sometimes that’s not always exactly how you meant it)) and how best to avoid it again.
5. Be gentle to yourself. I say this to my 3 year old cousin, Kolton. To him I mean, don't throw yourself around so much (boys are rough!), but when I say this to myself and my friends--I mean be kind to yourself. Give yourself as much slack as you'd give others. Celebrate your small victories. Don't beat yourself up about minor life infractions. Be gentle to yourself. You have you for such a short amount of time on this Earth. Treat yourself nicely.
Some of these lessons I have to remind myself of but I can tell you that they've altered the way I see and think about myself in relation with to others. I am now selfish when it comes to my mental health. I don't let people (and I try not to let people's problems) take up too much space in my head. I don't participate in anyone hurting my feelings and I'm honest about how I'm feeling. I think being selfish when it comes to these areas of our lives--is healthy. Being selfish gets a bad rap, but really you're just treating yourself how you should be treated. Remember, the most important relationship (for me next to my relationship with God) is the relationship with myself. You will be with you for the rest of your life. In order for you to be able to pour into others, lend your heart out to others during trying times or help emotional/professionally develop others--you must first make sure that you're full. So take the time it takes to reevaluate how you’re treating yourself.
Have a wonderful work week 20 Somethings.
couple months ago I had the privilege of working in Paris for a week. This was the first international trip that I took on my own. And I seriously learned so much about myself. Of course I had colleagues that I shared meals with and spoke with but mostly it was just me. I highly recommend that every 20 Something travels alone a couple times. It really can show you what you’re made of.
- Eating alone isn’t something that bothers me usually but I know a lot of people have issues “looking lonely” or what have you. I say don’t! You have to learn to be comfortable in your own skin and with your own company. Being in Paris and eating alone had a layer of complexity in the sense that I couldn’t understand about 98% of what everyone was saying. So I felt isolated at first but once I got past that it was easy. In typical Parisian style, I ate outside and people watched. I sat for a least an hour each meal and really took everything in and fully enjoyed the meals. I had some of my best moments surrounded by total strangers and a glass of rosé.
- Exploring seems like a no brainer when you’re in a new place, but navigating your way through a new place alone can be scary and frustrating. I learned that I’m not intimidated by much and that my sense of direction is actually good! Even when I got lost a few times I still found my way in the end. The idea is just to go with it and don’t be scared to try.
- Being alone is good. Really it’s essential. Being alone isn’t something that I’ve ever really been used to. I lived at home with four people for my entire life. Then I had roommates in college. And then I moved back home to those same four people. So I’ve really never lived alone for an extended period of time. And it was really nice to be able to sit with your own thoughts and be on your own time and schedule. In time, I’ll be someone’s wife and mother so to have this time to really be just me on my own terms is essential.
- Saying yes to new experiences is probably the hardest thing for me. I’m naturally skeptical and I’m a perfectionist—so if I don’t think that I’m going to do something correctly or look crazy, I won’t do it. It’s so weird how many times in life before I said no to spontaneity because I couldn’t “control” the situation. Well I threw that all out the window a couple years ago and now I just go with it. Even if I don’t know what I’m doing or may look crazy as hell—I just try. Your entire life awaits on the outside of your comfort zone. And Paris really reminded me how much I was hindering myself.
- Don’t be scared of the language barrier. It was a little nerve racking when I realized I would be in situations where I couldn’t communicate with someone that I may need help or a service from. BUT I didn’t let it stop me one bit! With technology, a friendly and calm demeanor and some miming—I made it through. Everyone was so polite and really just wanted to help me. I did learn how to say hello, good bye, thank you, excuse me and how to direct someone to my hotel. Those essentials made me feel secure enough to navigate alone.
- Enjoy every minute of life. There were moments that I thought, “Wow, I’m really in Paris, France.” And so many moments that made me appreciate just simply being able to experience other cultures. My first day of work in Paris was the 11th year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I’ve already talked about Katrina on the blog and what I realized that experience did for my life, but it was something about what it meant to be in Paris on that day 11 years later. It showed me that we are not defined by the tragedies in our life. We do not own all the problems in the world. And that life has this way of bringing you to the exact spot you’re supposed to be in when you’re supposed to be in it. This ‘girl’ from Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi stood in front of a classroom of people, who were highly knowledgeable and years her senior— and successfully did her job in Paris, France. How about that…
How are you travel experiences alone? Do you find that there are other important things we should discuss when it comes to traveling as a 20 Something? Please leave a comment or shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Have a wonderful work week 20 Somethings—GO BE GREAT!
Hello, my name is Brandis. I know it’s been a LONG time (about 3 months to be exact) since I’ve blogged. A lot has been going on—on this end and I needed to take the time to do it. I’ve been really trying to narrow my writing goals to just 2 things until something is completed.
So life update: Firstly, I started a new grad program! I was in one program and HATED myself for not really doing the research and really finding out what I really want to study. So I took a leap of faith and applied to a new program and was accepted!! I’m doing something that I am passionate about and really enjoying it—even though it takes up just about ALL of my free time! I moved out of my parents’ garage! My living situation at my parents’ house was always an interesting topic for others to comprehend. I could have always afforded to rent my own place but my parents allowed me the wiggle room to save and figure things out—and for that I am forever indebted. They seriously are the very best parents. As an adult now, I see where they were human but I see where they were superhuman too. And I know that I couldn’t be me without the both of them. Moving sucked. But we (I have a roomie, who is legit the very best and my best friend) made it work with the help of a patient friend (thank God cause he knew how to drive the U-Haul!) and our families! Decorating has been fun and I’ll be updating the Lifestyle portion of the website with some of the tidbits I’ve learned while doing all of that. I also have been traveling! But I’ll post something separate about all of that.
It has been a CRAZY few months, but some of the best times this year! Now on to my Year of 26 List… I copied the original list and will do a little update since I’m seriously only a couple weeks from the big 27. It’s SO insane to say that I will be 27, only because if you would have asked me 10 years ago who I thought I’d be and where I thought I’d be in life—this was not it. But this is better. Okay now to the list (my updates are in bold):
- I want to continue to feel sublimely peaceful. Every day! I have moments of chaos and that feeling of panic but they’re fleeting. I feel peaceful every day of my life. I attribute that to realizing the things that I can’t control and riding my life of toxicity (people, things and habits).
- I want to feel the magic again. hen I first wrote this list, I was referring to magic in the romantic sense. But I want to retract that. I feel magic all the time. I am magic. My family is magical. My friends are shear magic. The sun that comes up over the water that I get to see just about every morning on my way to work is magic. It took this year for me to see that magic starts from within.
- I want to feel unconditional love from myself. Doing! This has been the year I put this lesson into action. No matter what—good, bad or horrible, I make sure that at the end of it all I still remember to love myself and cut myself some slack.
- I want to feel confident in my abilities. This one I still have to actively work on. Because I am a perfectionist and need control—I never feel like what I’m doing is my best, I always think it can be better.
- I want to feel motivated about writing again. This is something that I am working on—I am motivated about writing my book but not too motivated about the blog. It seems hard to switch my gears effectively when so much is going on.
- I want to feel the wonder of dreaming big again. I dream bigger as I am exposed and learn new things. I realized that it costs me nothing and it hurts nothing. I root my dreams in tangible things that I can work towards and go for it! Never let anyone with a small mind make you feel like your dreams are too big—they simply just can’t comprehend them!
- I want to feel limitless. Still working on this.
- I want to feel calm. I find calmness in prayer and rationale thinking. When I begin to feel out of control I stop, breathe and think, ‘what can I really do here to make this better?’ If it’s out of my control I realize that and begin to make peace. If it’s something that I can control then I see what I can do. I avoid the panic at all costs. Because it doesn’t do anything to help the situation.
- I want to feel busy but productive. I’m SUPER busy and some days are more productive than others but that’s life.
- I want to feel needed. You know I had to stop rooting how I feel about myself based on if someone needs me. I need me. Every day. So that’s all that counts really. The moment I stop needing me is when I have a problem. Just a word to the wise—never root anything that is fundamentally you in someone or something else. You’ll always lose sight of who you are.
- I want to feel healthy. I fell off hard ya’ll. Like real hard. But this week I kicked it back up, I have an accountability partner and we’re doing the damn thing! I’m sore as a mofo but such is life.
- I want to continue feeling happy. I feel happy every day. Not all day every day, but every day. There’s always something, even in the worst of days, that you can find happiness in.
- I want to continue feeling confident in my truth and feelings. I feel confident in my feelings and I’m never scared to say it. If I’m mad—I live in it. If I’m sad—I live in it. When I’m happy—I live in it. I refuse to let anyone dictate how I’m feeling or if I should express how I’m feeling. Now, I don’t stew in negative feelings because that’s not healthy. I figure out what I can take away from it—be it a lesson or realize the feeling was fleeting—and then I move on.
- I want to see more of the world. Doing!! By the end of 2016, God willing, I will have seen 4 different countries. I’m already looking to book a few next year!
- I want to see the next chapter of my career. I’m taking strides to get there. I still don’t know what my end-goal is for my career but I know aspects and I’m working towards those. I have to realize that things take time and then they happen all at once. I’m trying to prepare myself for the all at once part.
- I want to see more smiles than tears. Oh this is for sure happening! I rarely cry sad tear. It’s not because I don’t get sad ever—I do, but I’m happy almost all of the time.
- I want to see my own professional growth. Getting there! At least I’m working towards getting there!
- I want to see the sunset on the beach. I have seen the sunset on the beach, in Barbados. You can’t really beat that life experience!
- I want to see more friends that live in other cities. I haven’t seen that many friends in different cities this year L. But that’s something that WILL happen in year 27!
- I want to see nights that turn into mornings with great friends. Oh, these nights surly have happened. I have some of the very best friends. They make my life full and I appreciate them for everything they do. I’m abundantly blessed.
- I want to see a healthy romantic relationship. Nope, nothing just yet.
- I want to see the best parts of myself instead of my flaws. This is something that I feel like will be an ongoing goal for life. But I do accept myself for who I am and I love myself unconditionally—so there’s a start.
- I want to see my purpose on Earth effect someone for the better. I really hope that I’m doing this and will continue to do this for the rest of my life.
- I want to see my family flourish. I’m so proud of my entire family. My brothers are doing amazingly well in school and my parent are flourishing in their new location. I’m just so proud to belong to these people. They push me when I can’t find the motivation to push myself and I hope that I give them an ounce of what they give me!
- I want to see Adele in concert. I play 25 really loud on my Alexa speaker. Does that count?! I really, really tried to see Adele but she sold out in literal minutes. Maybe the next time she’s in concert…
- I want to see my purpose for life come to fruition. I think this is happening right as a type… I wholly believe in God and His timing so I have to have full faith that I’m on the right path. I try to do my part and the rest is up to Him. I know that I can’t fathom all that will happen in my lifetime—so I stop trying. I just try to be the best version of myself. I make mistakes, hurt people’s feelings, don’t show enough attention to some folks, eat horribly and I probably drink too much champagne—but at the end of the day I try my very hardest to be a giving, caring and compassionate person. So I hope that counts for something when it’s all said and done.
Alright, now that I’ve had my therapy session—I hope that you all can take something from this post. It’s good to be back. This blog is cathartic for me and I’m proud of what I’ve posted so far. I hope that I can figure out how to organize all my moving parts so that I can update the blog more often. I hope you all are still out there and actually wanting to read this stuff!! If you ever have any post topics or suggestions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a wonderful weekend 20 Somethings. Go BE GREAT!
I haven't written a Spiritual Sunday blog post in a long time, but I felt like I needed to say this. I have been having a hard time with a lot of things lately. Not in my personal life per say but particularly in what I could possibly do when I feel that my place in world has been compromised or threatened, when I see others being mistreated, marginalized or hurt. I feel out of control, hurt and weary. Mainly, my real problem is rooted in my issue of feeling like I can't do anything about how I’m feeling or what’s going on in the world.
When I get to a point where I feel like I can't do anything or that I have nothing to give I realize that God has given me, has given each of us, the tools we need to become the change we want to see in the world. We're equipped with everything we need, each of us possess the gifts and tools to create change. Even when the world gets weary, hold on to that--remember that. What we must build a tolerant, caring, equal, loving world; we already have the tools to do so.
Have a great work week 20 Somethings. Go build together.
So a couple weeks ago I fell out of the shower. Full on bathing, minding my own business. I actually was reflecting on how amazing my core group of friends are (they were all at my house for an impromptu dinner earlier that night) and then all of a sudden the soap got underneath my feet and BAM-- I fell the freak out of the shower. Feet dangling over the tub, naked body touching the toilet (AHHH! GROSS) and crashing into glass candles and the trashcan. Oh, I also scraped my arm on glass. It was like something out of a freaking movie.
I laid there on the floor for what it felt like for about forever contemplating if I should get up or not. The bath water still running like nothing ever happened and the shower curtain hovering above me like I inconvenienced it by falling. Oh and not to mention the remnants of the freaking trash from the trashcan laid scattered around me. I honestly didn't know what happened. It all happened quickly and without warning. You want to know the crazy thing? I remember the entire fall. The whole thing. As I was falling I was thinking--oh my goodness, I'm freaking falling out of the shower. I even adjusted my body to make sure I fell out the shower and not in the shower (figured that would do less damage).
I say all of this to say, we all fall sometimes. Sometimes we know it's coming and we can see it happen and sometimes it comes completely out of nowhere. But really it is how we choose to react. Sometimes we lay there and contemplate what happened and then get up and sometimes we stay down for too long... As the world continues to move around you--you wonder how are you supposed to recover. I'm here to tell you no matter what--GET UP! Don't ever let the fall be bigger than the recovery. Get up, dust yourself off and move forward. Yeah you failed, fell or whatever but that does not define who you are as a person. The fall is not the end all be all--the fall is actually the catalyst to your next best step. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward. Yeah, you might walk away with a scrape, a bruise hell it could be even worse than that but guess what you did? You kept moving forward.
Have a wonderful productive weekend 20 Somethings.
his past year has been one that I seriously can’t really explain. There have been years in my life where I couldn’t pinpoint one thing that was phenomenal. Or there’ve been years where I looked back on it and realized how depressed and unhappy I had become over time. There were years where I was filled with doubt and frustration because I couldn’t figure out my direction in life. This year was filled with none of that. This year was happy, healthy, exciting, explorative, fun, carefree, hysterically funny, awe inspiring and all around the VERY BEST year yet.
I don’t say this to brag. I want to assure some of you out there that no matter what’s going on in your life—you can actively change it. You don’t have to live in a state of unrest or weary. The change is inside of you. You can make a consciences effort to be the change. For this birthday, I want to let you in on how I’ve created the life I’m living. I truly believe that we are the masters of our fate. We must take active roles in cultivating the life we want to live.
I personally started with my mental state. I had to change the way I thought in order to really get the ball rolling. The way I reacted to situations or how I recovered when things didn’t seem to go my way the first time was the initial catalyst. This then naturally moved to me thinking more positively. I refused to let unsettling, sad or mad feelings fester for too long. This change has made me more optimistic, happier and more faithful. Changing your mindset can totally change your life. There’s really no secret to it. What you think becomes—so if you think negative thoughts of course you’ll yield only negativity. The same goes for positivity. I’m not saying that I don’t get sad or negative—but I do not stay like that. I try not to bring my bad thoughts into the next day. And I’m really working towards keeping negative thoughts about myself and my abilities at bay. Overall, keeping a positive mindset has totally changed the way I make my way through the world.
Another active role that I have taken in my life is carefully picking and choosing who is allowed in my space and take up my energy. Everyone doesn’t deserve a seat at your table. They’re people that will use and abuse you and once you’re all used up they will exit your life and keep on leeching off someone else. Don’t let those people occupy your life. Those people do not deserve pieces of you. I honestly know what it is like to feel suffocated by draining or toxic relationships. They’re not worth your mental health. In the long run, you’re doing more damage to yourself than to anyone else and when you’re finally ready to be whole again it will take you even longer to piece yourself back together.
I am naturally a person that likes to take care of others. I love to see people happy, fed, having fun, warm and comfortable. I take on other’s problems emotionally and it affects me so much. It is just my nature—I’ve been like this my entire life. In essence it is who I am. But over the past couple of years, I’ve learned how to be myself but not compromise my soul. I realized I was pouring into everyone’s cup but when I really needed me—I didn’t have anything left. Then I realized that as I went on like this I couldn’t properly be who I was because I was empty. I couldn’t care for others or be the friend I should be—I couldn’t pour into others anymore. You can’t pour out of an empty cup. I noticed this cycle and I made a conscious effort to change the way I cared for people verses myself. I picked myself first. I became selfish in that regard. If I need to heal, need a quiet moment or simply need be alone—I take it. I don’t apologize for it. I get a chance to recharge my spirit and renew my soul. Then I can properly go on and care for others. Actively, caring for myself has been a must in my lifestyle change.
I live in my truth. No matter what I don’t stifle or lie about the way I’m feeling. This takes some finessing sometimes because every emotion doesn’t need to be voiced every time—but when I feel the situation calls for it I am honest about it. I don’t cater the way I’m feeling to soften the blow. This causes honest dialogue and almost always end with a solution—be it good or bad. That way I don’t harbor any feelings or over analyze situations like I used to.
Overall, this entire process is an on-going one. I don’t ever see me reaching a point when I no longer have to be conscious about how I’m creating my best life. I think over time some of these practices will become second nature and I won’t have to think so hard about them. I feel like I’ve changed drastically, emotionally and mentally, from following some of these practices. So many variables effect our trajectory in life, but the mind and how we choose to live our life are the most significant factors. The mind is the most powerful tool we have in our possession to truly build who we want to become.
I don’t want to make a list this year. I just want to keep living authentically me. I want to volunteer and travel more this year. And also, I’d like to really devote time to learning and become more active in my schooling—rather than just going through the motions. These are my biggest goals this 27th year. I feel like you guys keep me accountable so I needed to at least write that much since I’ve been sharing with you all my resolutions these past couple of birthdays. I do hope that through my learning and sharing what works for me it helps someone, somewhere.
Have a wonderful work week 20 Somethings.
2016: NOT AS BAD AS YOU THINK
So Trump was elected. On my birthday... I felt like the world was coming to an end basically. People even texted me their somber feelings instead of well wishes to add insult to injury! I pretty much thought 2016 sucked and would suck forever. There were so many people that were hurt, murdered and Flint, Michigan is still in a water crisis. I mean where is the good? Sometimes all the bad seems overwhelming and too much to handle. BUT a little perspective goes a long way… and realizing that the good in your life can, a lot of the time, outshine the bad.
2016 brought me a new graduate program that challenges me in a way that I never thought I could be challenged and actually love it. I moved in with my bff and Lord knows the shenanigans that we get into—we need our own reality show I swear. But not really because almost everyone but our mothers would hate us. Not really, haha. But really, probably. I’ve learned a heap load of new life lessons this year! (See The Year of 26 post.) I’ve seen Barbados, Paris, Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Grand Cayman this year. I’ve danced until I was realllyyyy sweaty (a bunch of times). I drank too much. I’ve stayed up until 6am with the rowdiest (but best) group of friends. I’ve heard God clearly give me an answer. I’ve laughed WAY more than I cried. And I’ve loved with my entire heart. 2016 wasn’t as bad as I thought it was.
This year brought the birth of new little precious humans (shout out to Easton, born on my birthday—he cancelled out any bad that occurred that day), engagements, marriages, graduations and many other milestones in life! This year has been full of smiles, those helping others and pure joy.
I say all of this to really say, don’t give 2016 too much credit for the bad that’s happened to you this year. Go into 2017 with a renewed spirit but also with an appreciation for what you’ve accomplished and learned in 2016. No one year is going to be “your year.” Every year that you’re given an opportunity for betterment or improvement is YOUR YEAR. I think we give resolutions too much power thus achieving them/ not achieving them tends to have more weight on it than it should. Set some goals and then do the work to achieve them. If you don’t achieve them then figure out why and move forward. Keep moving forward. Never stop. If one goal that you’re actively working on takes from 2016 to 2020 that’s fine! If you achieve it in ‘20 that doesn’t mean ‘17, ’18 or ’19 was a waste!! Remember, there’s a lesson in EVERY blessing even if it doesn’t seem like it’s working out right.
Treat yourselves well and go into 2017 with a positive and fun attitude 20 Somethings!! Be safe this New Year’s holiday—and call an Uber if you drink!
ARE WE INSECURE?!
By now if you haven't caught on to the creation of a new cult following, Insecure on HBO, created by Issa Rae--stop reading this and take the next 4 hours and BINGE THAT THANG. It's so freaking good. Issa Rae has created a world where black people are normal AF. She's showing the world that we all have the same types of struggles, the same relationship issues and the same insecurities. What she's done for the black narrative (especially for black women) I applaud and thank her so very much! Insecure made me sit and really think about my own personal experience and really figure out what I'm truly insecure about and I didn't feel alone. This blog post isn't about that though--I share that almost every post, haha. This post is pure fan-girling!!
Okay let's break down the finale a bit... (SPOILER)
Lawrence is a F**KBOY. It's that simple. Lawrence sucked the entire season. Like as a person. He had no job--chasing his dreams of creating an app AND he didn't even really want to celebrate Issa's birthday. COME ON! He's the man that needs all the boosting from a female and can't lift himself up until he realizes he's REALLY losing everything. It took too much for Lawrence to realize that he was legit a bum. And the girl at the bank? REALLY?! We all saw that coming--she bolstered his ego and gave him some attention. Should Issa have done that? I'm sure the past 4 years he's been couch surfing she had been--she probably freaking got tired! Lawrence, if you had been knocking your girl off she wouldn't have gave Daniel the full business alllllll over that studio. Now, don't get me wrong, I think Issa was wrong. She should have left Lawrence when she realized she was with a man that she wouldn't even "end up with." That was a tell right there. BUT I will not condemn Issa for cheating though. She had a need (sex and intimacy) and she fulfilled it. Too many times do we condemn women for doing the EXACT same thing men do. IF the shoe were on the other foot-- and Lawrence cheated on Issa because she stopped having sex with him-- some loud and wrong man would justify it; 'because she wasn't doing what she was supposed to do at home.' Am I wrong? Lawrence is insecure AF. And Issa's cheating put salt in that wound. I'm excited to see Lawrence evolve into a stronger man. And for him and Issa to realize they were just comfortable with each other, not actually in love. I think Lawrence can totally be a catch if he collects his life and stop being immature.
Issa and Molly's relationship is everything. I love seeing real live friendship. They're not perfect but they get each other and can check each other when needed. That's honest and raw. And when it counts they always have each other's back. I hope that they remain friends to the end (which I hope is FAR, FAR away from now). I've realized as a 20 Something friends are what hold us together. Yes of course, we have religion and our families. But the glue that holds us together are the amazing folks we get to pick to be in our lives. A friend will drive you to go talk it out with your man in the middle of the night or bring you a bottle(s) of wine when everything falls apart. We watched as Issa and Molly grew as friends and were just #GOALS.
Everyone else does it for me too. For me, the secondary cast is really just as important as the ensemble cast. They drive the action. Like Kelli's honesty. She's me in that sense in particular. I usually say the off the wall unfiltered thing that everyone is thinking. Tiffany does too much for me throughout the entire season but I like her for some reason. I feel like in an upcoming season we'll find out her husband is gay or been having an affair and it'll shake her entire world. I think for her--there's more coming.... Mark my words.
I just love how honest this 30 minute comedy really ends up being. There are full scenes that come straight out of conversations being had sitting around my kitchen table or straight out my friend group's group chats. I seriously can not wait until it returns and watch these characters fully come into themselves. I foresee this show running for a very long time. It's what I've been missing--a show that I can fully relate to. Hello, Daniel's line about black college girls loving Drake. MY LIFE. Issa was right, "he just gets us." To say that I'm impatiently waiting for the second season would be an understatement.
Tell me what you think about Insecure in the comments below! Have a great weekend and HAPPY DECEMBER 1! We have one more month left of 2016, when the heck did that happen?!