TWUNNYseven Keys to Being My Best Me

Key to life, Conceptual photo. On color wooden background

It was the Tuesday before I was turning 27. Here I was, getting ready to take my birthday trip in two days, and I couldn’t be more excited. The weeks leading up to my birthday had been rough. I was being tested in every area of my life and I was beginning to become overwhelmed. So, I needed this trip. Turning a year older naturally gets your mind wandering. You begin to reevaluate life. I had begun the process of evaluating where I was and where I was headed. Then the trip of a lifetime happened. I was in Barbados. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. It owes me nothing, except for maybe a Rihanna sighting.

During the trip I had time to sit on the beach and take it all in. I thought about so much. Each day on the island was a new lesson for me. I wanted to go into this 27th year doing things a bit different. I wanted this to be my best year yet. So, while on the plane, dreading coming back to America, I started writing down 27 reminders to myself. I also wrote down things I noticed about myself that I would like to improve.  When 2017 started I told myself that I would go after what I wanted. That includes my happiness.

This was therapeutic and I’d suggest giving this a try. Sometimes you just need to see what you already know, on paper. So, here’s my 27 keys to becoming a better me!

1. Do things that feel good to me
2. Follow my bliss
3. Know my value and lift the price
4. Save more money
5. Be selfish sometimes (It’s okay)
6. Stop looking for validation
7. Don’t be afraid to make the decisions that are best for me
8. Spend more time with God
9. Learn to let go
10. Worry less
11. Stay positive during stressful times
12. DEMAND what it is I want
13. Be less passive
14. Live with more passion
15. Stop doing things I don’t want to do
16. Don’t be afraid to tell these men they aren’t good enough
17. Believe in myself
18. Learn something new every day
19. Do something to improve my craft every day, no matter how small
20. Love more, in all ways
21. Support my friends
22. Be confident
23. Manage my time better
24. Speak my mind when it’s worth it
25. Finish what I start
26. Stop allowing mediocrity from people

27. Try harder to keep in touch with loved ones

 

 

 

 

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The Last Ride to McDonald’s: Giving Up the Desire to Date F*ckboys

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Raise your hand if you like eating at McDonald’s. Now, raise your hand if you are still involved with someone you know you shouldn’t be involved with. I bet you’re trying to understand how those two relate. Don’t worry sis, I got you.

I recently received a visit from one of my bestfriends. Her trip was every bit of what I needed. She’s newly single after about four years. Naturally, the topic of f*ckboys came up one night and we started to wonder if our attraction to them would ever fade. Sure, we don’t purposely date them, it just kind of always happen. The grey sweatpants get us every time. My friend then brought up a good point. She’s now living a vegan lifestyle and thought about how her old food choices no longer tickled her fancy.  It took a while, but the desire faded. So if it can happen with food, it can happen with men, right?

No matter how much we say we want a good partner, we still choose the one we know isn’t right. We go for him because he’s tall and chiseled with a beard only coconut oil could have grown. Of course, no one wants their hearts two-stepped on, but we seem to go after the same type of guy, every time.  Or, we tend to make the same mistakes over again. We stay even when our gut is telling us to run like the guy from “Get Out.”  Or, sometimes we don’t realize we’re dealing with a f*ckboy until it’s too late. Whatever the case, it’ll get better. There will come a time when you can spot them within seconds and walk the other way, no matter how big the beard. Your yearning for those men who don’t measure up will dissipate.

Very few people I know still eat McDonald’s. The reasons for that should be obvious. I slowly eased my way off most fast food chains years ago. McDonald’s was the first to go. I used to love Big Macs back in middle school. But one day, I made the executive decision at the ripe old age of 13 that Big Macs were trash. After the initial satisfaction of the first bite, I realized what I thought was good was actually really poison. Since that day, I’ve been done with McDonald’s. Sometimes, it’s not that simple with men, though.

The goal is to be able to walk right past a f*ckboy the same way you drive past McDonald’s. The goal is to never again desire the company of a f*ckboy. Remember those Big Macs you were in love with? Nah? Me either. There isn’t a golden arch big enough or a commercial clever enough to ever make me want to even become curious about eating there again. This isn’t exclusive to just McDonald’s, though. Think of something else that you once loved that you can no longer stand the sight of. Think about those Four Lokos you drank back in college. You knew you were drinking death in a bottle, however, it got the job done fast and it was easy on your coins. That was back in college. Walk in a gas station now. You don’t even notice them, do you? I’m actually not even sure if Four Lokos are still on shelves. Why? Because I’m no longer checking for them.

Ladies, don’t be afraid to take care of you. It starts with changing your mindset. Begin believing that you are God’s child, which means you deserve love. It’s painful to figure out that someone isn’t for you. Let’s be honest though, just like when you creep up in that drive-thru line, you know it isn’t the best decision. But you continue to pull up to the second window and proceed home with your food. It isn’t until your stomach doesn’t feel so great, or you put on that extra pound that you really realize it wasn’t such a good idea. It’s the same thing for your taste in men. You know he isn’t right for you, but you continue to date him. There were signs right upon meeting him. When you went on your first date, something in you felt like it wasn’t right. However, for whatever reason, you proceed. Maybe you thought you were overreacting. Or the worst of them all, you saw potential in him. Whatever the case, you go against your intuition. It isn’t until you catch him cheating again or see him on the couch doing nothing that you realize enough is enough.

McDonald’s is still thriving. Why? Because America has low standards and thousands of people still eat there. If no one ate there, they’d be out of business. Ladies, if we were to elevate our taste buds as a unit, we’d put f*ckboys out of business.

Don’t let the idea of having somebody result in you settling for just anybody. In my best MLK voice, I have a dream that one day we’ll lose the desire to put an unworthy man’s needs before our own.  Your last trip to McDonald’s is coming.

 

 

Why I’m Happy President Obama Will Finally Be Out of Office

obama-and-boy

It’s just hours before President Barack Obama turns in the keys to the White House. He will no longer be the leader of the “free” world. Now, it’ll be in the hands of someone with no experience. Someone who publicly supports everything a normal human being, let alone a president, probably shouldn’t. Some examples are racism and sexual assault. Friday, when he takes the oath, it’ll all be over.

As much as I want to nail the Obamas to the oval office, I’m happy that our president will be out of office. I’m excited that the weight of this country will be off his shoulders. I love that he doesn’t have to deal with Republicans like he would if he were president.For eight years they have tried to break Mr. Obama. They threw every curveball to deflect attention away from the incredible job he was doing as our president. Each attempt to belittle Obama failed. He was attacked about everything from his birth certificate to the color of his suit. No other president has been disrespected the way Obama has been over the last eight years. However, he took each shot like a soldier. Now, I want Obama to say and do all the things he couldn’t while holding that top spot.

All I want now is for Obama to enjoy his family. Enjoy every part of knowing that no matter what opposers said or thought, he has made history. I thank him. I thank him for obvious reasons, but here’s to the not-so-obvious. I thank him for giving my black men confidence. No matter how much they tap dance on our last nerve, President Obama inspired our men. There are men who began wearing suits because of President Obama. I personally want to fist-bump him for that, honestly. There are also men who started to really believe in themselves during his two terms, which led to the making of some entrepreneurs.

Not only did he inspire men, he inspired women too. He gave us hope that maybe somewhere out there, it was another Barack waiting for us. I don’t know about you all, but I’ve seen a spike in black marriages in the last eight years. I want to believe that seeing a display of Barack and Michelle’s love helped with that.

obama-and-michelle

 

I also thank  him for reminding America just how much Black men scare America. It’s no secret that the world has always been intimidated by them. That fact dates back to slavery days, but that’s another topic for another time. That’s why Republicans and everyone else gave Obama such a hard time. They didn’t think he was capable and when he showed that he was more than capable, it was frightening.

There will never be another president with as much style as Barack Obama. There will never be another first lady with Michelle’s grace. There will never be children living in the White House who will flourish with such elegance like Sasha and Malia.

Moving forward, Obama may be leaving the White House, but he’s not leaving my heart. Continue to be inspired. Continue to have faith. Continue to spread love. Don’t let the person inside the oval office dictate how you live your everyday life. I’m hoping this makes you motivated to follow your passions and add to President Obama’s legacy.

 

 

The Dip-Back: Why It Should Be a ‘No’ for You

dipback

Photo: Sadé Kay.

You two were together for a while. You both made promises and thought that it would someday lead to a ring. Well, it didn’t. In fact, you guys are poison to each other. You argue to the point where it’s painful to look at each other. It was best you guys called it quits. So, now it’s over. Some time goes by and then ex-bae calls you. Your ex wants to see you. It could be strictly for sexual reasons, or maybe to rekindle what you guys had. Do you go?

Or, maybe the relationship was a healthy one, but timing was just not right. However, after the break-up, he or she calls and wants to go on old intimate explorations. Is that a good idea or a bad one? When is going back for seconds a good idea? Never. In my best Bryson Tiller voice, “Don’t.” Here’s why:

1. Extends Emotional Craving

After you break up, you feel accomplished if you’re able to go a whole day without talking to your ex. Now, you’re hoping that a day turns into a week. Suddenly that week becomes a month and now it’s not so bad. You don’t crave their interaction like you did before. You’re actually really proud of yourself because now it’s been a month and a half and you’ve stood strong. You’re not constantly longing for their connection. It’s only going to get easier-so you thought. That is, until you get that “hey stranger” text. We’ve all been there. After a month and a half, the text that just lit up your screen is about to end it all. You’re tempted to text back. So, you do. It’s only small talk, but it’s leading you down a dangerous path. It started with one text, now you’ve gone from not speaking at all to now once a week. That soon turns into once a day. Now, you’re longing for him or her again. You are craving their vibes, again. All that hard work of training yourself to get over them is thrown out the window. You wait around for their call, again. You’re checking up on his Instagram, again. You’re attached, again.

2. You’ll Feel Basic Two Minutes After

Take the time to think about how you’ll really feel after it’s all said and done. You know ex-bae isn’t right for you. You know you deserve better. You know your worth, but this person makes you feel comfortable. He or she already knows exactly what you like. So, it’s easy to dip back. DON’T. You will feel horrible. You will feel used. You will feel basic, sis. Be strong enough to walk away. Let the phone ring.

 

 

3. Restricts Your Glow-Up 

How are you going to move forward in life when you won’t let go of what’s behind you? Here’s the answer: you can’t. Whether you’re creeping back to your ex for sexual reasons, emotional attachment or pure curiosity, you’re hindering your glow-up. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s an overall improvement of your life. It’s a transformation that can only be accomplished when you put yourself first. In order to elevate your life, sometimes you have to get rid of old baggage, completely. Dipping back to someone you know doesn’t deserve your love stops you from finding someone who does deserve it. There is someone out there waiting to treat you like the queen or king you are. However, you’re going to miss out on that person because your mind is still stuck on what was. Stay focused. Don’t let the lonely nights put you in positions you know aren’t right for you. It’s a set-up.

4. Creates Unrealistic Expectations

Hooking up with an old flame can be dangerous for your emotional stability. You have to acknowledge that you are emotionally vulnerable. I know everything about dipping back to former boo sounds appealing. It’s convenient and familiar. Sure, you don’t have to invite someone new into your space. Plus, old bae already knows what you like and what annoys you.  It may seem like a win but all this will do is lead you down a path of thinking things will work out between the two of you. What was supposed to be a quick dip-back has now turned into an emotional roller coaster that you were not prepared for. While you’re having thoughts of wedding bells, the other person probably isn’t. Being intimate with an ex won’t solve old problems. In fact, it could just create new ones.

It can be very difficult to fight off the urge of dipping back into the cookie jar, but take these reasons into consideration. Sliding back with your ex delays the inevitable. Use the time you would’ve spent hooking up with them to work on yourself. Focus on healing and moving on from the break-up.

Keep them in your rearview mirror and cruise off into the sunset with new bae.

How Jamaica Changed My Life: The Difference Between Americans and Everybody Else

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I was fortunate enough to visit Montego Bay, Jamaica for my 26th birthday. It was the best birthday trip thus far. It wasn’t my first time outside of the country, but this particular trip did something to me. I became more saucy. I became more in touch with myself. It gave me a boost. I’ve always loved myself, but man did Jamaica enhance that! This trip gave me a sense of myself that I never really tapped into. It gave me extra sex appeal. It gave me the juice to leave a dead, unhealthy relationship. It reminded me of my value.For lack of better words, I was feelin’ myself (as the kids would say).

This was before we took off to go bamboo rafting. It was such a beautiful experience.

 

I knew I would gain tremendous memories after this vacation. However, I never thought it would shape the way my mind saw the world. It changed me. It changed the way I viewed life. It altered how I viewed my current and future romantic state. There are a few reasons for this, and I’m going to break them down briefly for you.

The Difference Between American and Non-American Men

When I went to Jamaica, I was about a month or so into a break-up. I wasn’t ready for what I was about to experience. It was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, as if God took extra time with it. Jamaica also has the most beautiful people you’ll ever see. There’s melanin to your left and a bunch more just one glance to your right, girl. If you’re anything like me, you’d be in heaven. I wasn’t thinking about old bae at all.

Immediately, when we stepped on the soil, men noticed. I’m not saying that doesn’t happen here in the states. Sure, men notice beautiful women. However, what I will say next is the plot twist.

Some of you misguided, American men do the bare minimum. You guys are afraid of effort. For whatever the case may be, you think approaching us with a backhanded compliment is supposed to get our juices flowing. Nah. “You’re so cute to be a dark-skinned chick.” Was that supposed to make me want to sit on your beard?

Meanwhile, over in God’s special project, I’m being referred to as nothing less than Queen. A typical pickup line in the states: “Aye Red, aye Chocolate. Dang you’re sexy. Dang you’re thick. You got a man? You can’t have friends? Let’s chill.” Over in Jamaica: “You look beautiful this morning, Queen. May I penetrate your mind, Goddess?”

They were catering over there. Whatever we needed, they wanted to make sure we got it. What a breath of fresh air. Here at home, I’ve been approached by guys who didn’t seem to be raised properly. It’s not just me. I’ve also witnessed my friends and other women get disrespected by American guys. Too much Future, not enough Luther Vandross.

I connected with a Jamaican while I was over there. He made me feel happy to be a woman. It wasn’t just him, though. Every man there uplifted us and they never expected anything back. That’s their culture. They embrace love and passion. Meanwhile, Daquan can’t figure out if you’re the one he wants to cheat on for the rest of his life.

This pretty much sums up the trip. Blurry nights escorted by beautiful , Jamaican men.

 

Now, this isn’t me bashing American men. I love my kings. And no, it’s not all men, but guys, let’s hold your homies accountable. We shouldn’t have to go to another country to feel loved and valued. You all should make us feel saucy, just as Winston made Stella feel. Why do we have to travel hundreds of miles away to feel like queens?

To wrap this thing all up, men (especially my chocolate-covered ones), step up and be the kings you were born to be. Stop selling yourself short. Stop under-appreciating your queens. We fight on the front line for you every day.  Uplift us the same way you want us to uplift you. Listen to a little more Bob Marley and a lot less French Montana. Learn about love. Not just romantic love, but learn how to love yourself.

Melanin is Dope

Everywhere I looked in Jamaica, I saw beautiful, dark skin. Everyone looked like me. I loved it. The way the sun hit their skin and the sweat glistened from their bodies, it was amazing. I began to appreciate my skin a little more. What else in the world looks like this? God took his time with this procedure. No one had on designer clothes, so that wasn’t what made them beautiful. I didn’t see much makeup. It was nice to get away from a country that looks down on you the darker your skin. It was the total opposite here. The darker your complexion, the more of a Goddess you’re thought to be. Taking this trip really made me want to get in touch with my people. I wanted to learn even more about my history. Jamaica is so rich in culture and just being around that atmosphere made me want to dive into mine. I learned the true meaning of ‘black is beautiful’ after this trip.

Relaxing on the beach across from our hotel in Montego Bay

 

Be Happy With What You Have 

What I loved just as much as the men and the melanin is their ability to be happy with what they had. Sure, Jamaica is a gorgeous place. However, there are many people there living with next to nothing.  We visited areas where people didn’t have a real water system, so they had to walk sometimes miles to a lake to get water. Most people there didn’t make thousands of dollars, but still everyone had smiles on their faces. Nobody had fancy clothes or even drove fancy cars. No one had iphones, but still managed to meet up with their friends and family to spend quality time together. It made me appreciate what I have. Sometimes we tend to be greedy. We have it all but always want more, not being satisfied until we get it. Not in Jamaica. From what I experienced, laughs still poured in. People still went out to have a good time without stressing over what they didn’t have.   They basked in the ambiance even through the struggle. This is a lesson I’m thankful that Jamaica taught me.


All in all, I encourage traveling in the black community. We really have to get out more. It’ll change your life. Get out of what America has brainwashed you to believe and go see the world. Thank me later.

Why Alton Sterling’s Death Has Motivated Me and Why it Should Do the Same for You

So, it’s been a while! I haven’t posted anything in months. I’ve been writing, but nothing that has been post-able, ya know? Crazy thing is, these last few months have been amazing. Not just regular amazing though, far better.

Anyway, I’m super motivated tonight. I don’t know what did it, but I’m glad it happened! It could be that I’ve been listening to some of my closest girlfriends go through boyfriend issues. It’s something about when men do crappy things that makes you want to channel that anger into bettering yourself. Just an additional way to say “boy bye.” That sparked an idea for a project.

Then, I’m talking to one of my best friends and we’re texting about our next trip in September. This will be an amazing one. I’ve always wanted to go to this destination and I just may not come back. This conversation with her then sparked my second idea.

If I’m motivated, I want you all to be too, and for very good reason. If you have an idea, write it down! After that, figure out a plan to accomplish it. And don’t just stop there. Actually accomplish it! Just think about how great it feels to accomplish a goal that you’ve had for so long. You are dope! If you don’t know that, I know it. Push yourself. I know you wrote down a plan or a goal recently. Have you made moves to get it done?

Here’s why we all should be stimulated to do better.

Do you know how powerful we could be if we all just get inspired? I went to bed last night (early this morning actually) reading about a man who was murdered on camera by police. What was he doing you ask? As if he needed to be doing anything at all. Did I mention he was a black man. Yep. He was selling CDs outside of a store in Baton Rouge. So essentially, he was the cool CD man that you use to (or probably still do) grab the latest CD or bootleg DVD that you didn’t want to spend the money on to see in theater. We all know the CD man. Usually they are there trying to earn extra money, never to harm anyone. I just described 37-year-old Alton Sterling. Police shot him like he was an animal. Actually, animals are well-loved, so I’m sure they would have never shot an animal that way.

It’s sad the way they view black men. It’s sad that they are feared. Only because for years and  years black men have shown that they are clever and resilient .’Our’ history has taught us that our black ancestors were always so much smarter than those trying to oppress them. Black people, men especially, have always intimated them. Sterling was probably just out there trying to make extra money for his family, a family that he would never see again. We always make a way. Sterling was out there, making a way. He was out selling CDs with permission from the store’s owner. They hate that. That fact alone intimated those officers. Now there are more children out here with no father. Thanks for that, police officers (hired to protect and serve, by the way).

It’s obvious the world we live in is inhumane. Black men are being slaughtered left and right and the eyes of the world are just turning the other cheek. The topic is cared about for a little while. Sure, it’s all in the media for a second, that is until Donald Trump does or says something stupid and all focus shifts to him. It’s clear, something has to be done. I’m not exactly sure what that something is though (besides the obvious, police need to stop killing our men). However, I know that if we all become amped to live out our dreams, someone will figure out the answer. We need to use our gifts to start shedding light to some of these issues. It doesn’t matter what your passion is. Sure, I know we get tired from going into a job that most of us hate anyway. However, find time to work at your craft. That’s the only way to keep your passion strong. Don’t quit on yourself. It’s not going to be easy. Don’t get lazy. And if you happen to fall into a rut, get out of it. In fact, if you’re in a rut right now (like me) get out of it! Start working at whatever it is you want to do. You never know how your craft could change this world.

 

 

 

Surround Yourself With Dopeness: Tahir Goes To Africa


Surround yourself with dopeness. I think I’ll write these every so often to show just how talented my circle is.

I have pretty dope friends. You ever just sit back and think about all the talent that surrounds you? If you don’t feel like you have to step your game up when you’re around your closest pals, well, those aren’t the pals you need to be around.

I want to talk about one of my closest friends, Tahir. Back in February, he got the chance to go to Ghana for 15 days. When he told me that he wanted to go over to Africa, I thought it was just an idea. Who knew a few months later he’d be there. What a journey! When he came back I was able to look at his pictures and videos and I felt like I was there. He truly captured the heart of Ghana. Check out his first video to his promo series that’ll lead up to the documentary! I’m surrounded, are you?

Follow him on Instagram @thevirtuouslion for more videos and photos!

Public Service Announcement 

You do what you want when you’re poppin’ people.

Isn’t it dope that you’re allowed to do whatever makes you happy? Like, you have that power to MAKE YOURSELF HAPPY. Isn’t it even more dope that nobody else has that power over you but you? How cool is it that you are designed to create your own joy. 

You do what you want when you’re poppin’ folks! 

No, this isn’t a cocky post [although I think I’m pretty dope]. It’s just a reminder. You are poppin’ and you can do what you want! If something isn’t bringing you happiness, you have the power to leave it in the rearview. If something makes you happy, you have the power to go after it and hold on to it. Remember that. Never leave your well-being in the hands of others. Say what you want, mean it and commit. 

P.S.

Thanks Future & Drake

Don’t Fight the Process

Growing is something that should happen during your years on this planet. You shouldn’t be the same person at 26 that you were when you were 16. Sure, some of your characteristics will stay the same, but evolution is inevitable. Don’t fight the process.

What If Gina Would’ve Listened to Pam?

gina and pam

It happens to us all. You tell someone what you are doing to better yourself, they tell you your plans won’t work. Or, you tell your friend about the rough times you’re going through with bae and they tell you how much you should leave. What about when you have a pretty dope idea that you’re excited about and they tell you that it’s dumb. You know what? Screw “they.”

Sometimes we get too wrapped up in the thoughts and opinions of people who don’t matter. Even if these people do matter, they don’t matter more than your dreams. It’s natural. We all seek validation. We all want people to be in agreement with us. However, when it all comes down to it, you have to live with the chances that you have or have not decided to take. Don’t let people talk you out of what you believe to be best for you. Even if it’s not best for you, ride for you. Go hard for you. No one else will. If you want to quit your job and move to California to live out your dream, do it. If you want to go back to school, go. If you’ve been thinking about starting a business, start it! Your determination has to be so strong that your own mama couldn’t persuade you otherwise.

As for relationships, stop including your friends and family in every aspect of your relationship. Sure, you need people in your corner when you’re going through something with your significant other, but you don’t need to tell them every single time he or she does something to upset you. That just leaves room for outside opinions that could ultimately ruin what you have. If you don’t showcase every time he sent you flowers just because, or every time she cooked and brought food to your job so you wouldn’t go hungry, then don’t showcase every argument. That’s how people get into your head and confuse your thoughts. That’s also how you end something prematurely. Ladies, stop listening to your girl who says “he ain’t nothing.” They’re not there when he’s catering to you after your long day of work. Some things should be left between you two. Besides, the more you complain about him or her, the crazier you look, especially when you stay with them. So, what’s the point.

So, what if Gina would’ve listened to Pam? She wouldn’t have married and had a happy life with Martin, right? [If you don’t get this reference, shame on you. Google it.] Moral of the story: Stop letting people detect your future. Listen to the inner you. Live for you. Ride for you.