Removing the Cape

So I was typing up the discussion for Black Girls Must Die Exhausted. 

Bumping Maxwell’s MTV Unplugged album- track 4. This Woman’s Work. Despite being tragically placed in the sex scene in Love and Basketball and many a first dance wedding song, the song is actually about death. 

In case you didn’t know. Go back and listen to the lyrics. And watch the video. 

So yeah.

Between the book, the music and the incense I was burning (which happened to be called “Black Woman”), I got in my feelings.

I got to thinking.

Finally, I have a job I don’t hate. An amazing apartment. Clear skin. Edges……..and in therapy. 

The insurance that I have through my job allows me to access for as little as $35 a session. I’ve been going weekly since December 5th. I went to my first session fully equipped with a plan. I wanted to commit myself to weekly sessions for at least one year. I even started a “therapy journal” last year to write down specific things I’d wanted to tackle when I finally found a therapist. 

We’re quite a few sessions in and I’m making a ton of progress. I’m telling y’all I came prepared to do “the work.” And I make sure to review all of my therapist’s notes after each session. 

The first culprit we’ve identified is PTSD (post- traumatic stress disorder). Primarily from childhood trauma. Now if you know me personally, this comes as no surprise. I’ve been pretty transparent about my upbringing. But I genuinely didn’t understand the extent to which it’d negatively impact every facet of my adult life and all of the relationships I’ve built within it. From family, to friends and lovers alike. 

The truth is. I’ve been tired for a very long time and now I’m fully coming to grips with why it’s understandable. Growing up being applauded for ensuring the wellbeing of others was not a badge of honor that I should have earned. Strength should never be rooted in anyone’s ability to put up with bullshit.

Frankly…….

I’m tired of being the strong daughter

I’m tired of being the strong sibling

I’m tired of being the strong niece

I’m tired of being the strong friend

I’m tired of being the strong colleague

The strong everything for everyone else.

And thanks to therapy, I realize that it’s okay for me to feel that way. I had to be responsible for so much at quite a young age. Just juggling everyone else’s SHIT in addition to my own. Almost to the point where I don’t even really know where anybody else’s shit ends and mine begins. Lately I’ve been working on distinguishing between the two and creating more boundaries to protect myself….FIRST.

So moving forward, I won’t be available in the same capacities that I used to be. 

I’ve taken the “strong” cape off.

And the award goes to…..

In spirit of one of the podcasts that’s kept me afloat this year, The Brilliant Idiots, I think that this quote is reasonable.

If you think 2020 was your best year ever, you’re absolutely right. If you think 2020 was your worst year ever, you’re right too.

Many of us don’t even have the words for what 2020 was. 

Nothing I did was on my vision board. 

My planner looked like a kindergartener had scribbled through it.

I started a new job as a middle school teacher. 

I quit that new job and moved to Texas. 

We got hit with the pandemic quarantine. 

I made $1000 Instacarting one week. 

I got fired from Instacart. 

I had to ask my friends to help me pay my bills.

I finally have a bed after sleeping on a blowup mattress for months. 

I worked at the IRS for 2 days and quit. 

I worked at a hospital for a month. 

I fell in love again. 

If that isn’t Oscar worthy, I don’t know what is. 

2020 showed its ass. 

I’m actually eager to see what 2021 has in store. I’m rather used to this Jordan Peele production we’ve been in for 90% of 2020. 

I’m looking forward to all of the creative ideas being birthed from this pandemic. All of the healthy conversations that are taking place. People are reading again. People are writing again. Strangers are networking. Folks are finally pursuing their passions. 

I love to see it. 

Please do set intentions. 

Please do the shadow work. 

Manifest that shit!

2020. Deuces!

Escaping Survival Mode

According to Psychology Today, “survival mode” is an adaptive response of the human body to help us survive danger and stress. 

From the outside looking in, many people would assume that I had an overall healthy childhood and adolescence. I was raised by my grandparents in the country. I got good grades. I never came off as disobedient. My yes mams and no sirs were always polished. Despite being a “good kid” raised in a super religious household, my life has never been exempt from trauma and dysfunction. I am almost certain that I’ve suffered from depression for years undiagnosed. 

I recently read and shared an article that discussed the immobilizing effects of depression. I recognized myself immediately. I wasn’t in a position to get out of the environment that I was in so I mentally became immobile. I don’t remember how I learned to control my rage. How to play along. How to seemingly “fit” into that world until I could get out of it.

Fast forward to now.

At 30. Far removed from the people, places and things that brought the trauma and dysfunction into my life, I still catch myself functioning in survival mode.

It is very difficult to escape this mindset.

I’m constantly reminding myself. I question my decisions alot. Why am I doing this? When it’s time for me to make important decisions I ask myself if I’m doing what I want to do or what needs to be done? Anything involving money and I’m asking if I’m buying an item from a headspace of lack.

Whatever helps right?

To the person that resonates with this blog:

  1. How are you or have you been working on escaping a mindself of survival mode?
  2. What has been your biggest challenge?

They Say

This week, I spent quite a bit of time in my local used bookstore. Honestly, it’s more of a happy place than anything else and I often find myself getting “lost” amongst the shelves for hours at a time. 

One book in particular has been calling to me for quite some time and I’d done my best to resist it up until this week.  

If you’re a bookworm like myself, you know exactly what I mean about books “calling.” That book was Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. 

Yeah that one. Every millionaire, finance expert and money guru has preached about this book in particular. Personally I didn’t think I was ready to have that conversation about myself as I was seriously (not seriously) enjoying the financial pity parties that I was throwing for myself. 

But alas, I got my hands on a copy and even got my boyfriend a copy as well so that we could read together and discuss it. 

I started reading it in the car and before I knew it, I had spent fifteen minutes in my car reading. 

I COULD NOT PUT THE DAMN BOOK DOWN.

So I’m reading and trying not to highlight half the damn book as I go and I stumble on a quote that triggered me. 

If the thing you wish to do is right, and you believe in it, go ahead and do it! Put your dream across, and never mind what “they” say if you meet with temporary defeat, for “they,” perhaps, do not know that EVERY FAILURE BRINGS WITH IT THE SEED OF AN EQUIVALENT SUCCESS.

I think that sometimes we are conditioned to seek counsel from others before making steps forward. 

I remember all of the “theysayers” in my life as I was figuring out my plans post high school. 

Plan A was the military. 

“They” told me not to go into the military because I would be killed (as if I couldn’t be killed as a civilian just as easily).

I spoke about how my corporate job was taking a toll on my mental and physical health. 

“They” told me to “play the corporate games” because I didn’t need to quit my job without six month’s worth of savings or a new position lined up. 

I could go on and on. 

The point is, hardly ever will “they” tell you to do what you want to do or what’s best for you.

Who are the “they” people in your life?

Are “they” holding you back? Are “they” pushing you to go forward?

Be mindful of the “theysayers” in your life.

Most times “they” don’t know what they’re talking about.

Nine times out of ten, “theysayers” operate in fear.

“They” also have their own concerns, fears, and insecurities that “they” are wanting to project onto you. And the moment that you go against the grain and things fall apart, they rush to remind you that “a hard head makes a soft ass, or I told you so” or whatever the fuck else makes them feel good about being right about your situation. 

But they are nowhere to be found when things go right. Or, they change up the narrative to give you a faux congrats and the “I knew you could do it” bullshit. 

It happens. 

But as Napoleon said, EVERY FAILURE BRINGS WITH IT THE SEED OF AN EQUIVALENT SUCCESS. 

I’ve tried and failed at many things. The things I’ve failed at provided tools and resources that led to my successes. The things I’ve succeeded at were the very things that “they” didn’t believe I’d succeed in. But then again, who the hell sets the standard for success anyway?

YOU DO!

Perhaps you find yourself surrounded by “theysayers” who also function as the “naysayers” in your life. I’m here (along with Napoleon) to remind you to pursue that passion that keeps you up at night. 

FUCK WHAT “THEY” SAY

Entrepreneurship aka What the hell am I doing?

Never in a million years did I ever consider entrepreneurship and had full intentions on working for other people for the rest of my life. The first question people ask is (of course) “have you always known?” The answer is no! To be honest, everyday I question myself if I made the right decision. Am I “doing it right?” When the hell do the big checks start rolling in?

 

I don’t hesitate to admit that this was something that I should have been better prepared for……..but I wasn’t. Luckily all of the bills were paid up. One less headache to worry about.

 

The entire purpose for me not working was so that I could focus on a writing career. After forever and a day of storing, organizing and uploading poems, I successfully self-published my first book.

 

This was by far thee happiest moment in my life!

 

I ordered 100 copies and began selling…..to my ride or die friends, family and a few strangers. I hosted 2 book signings. The first one was in my hometown. Outside of my supporters that let me know that they couldn’t attend in advance, a majority of the “let me know when you have your first signing” folks were disappearing acts. The only person that showed up to my signing in Charlotte was my favorite cousin.

 

1st Lesson Learned about Entrepreneurship

Folks don’t rock with you the way they say they do

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The book has been available on multiple platforms including Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble and via direct shipping on this site and there are still folks asking how they can get it and if they can get “a hook up.”

When people genuinely WANT to support you, they will. Anything else is bullshit. To me support is support. Promotion is free. Sharing is caring.

Again.

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2nd Lesson Learned about Entrepreneurship

Although profitable, everything AIN’T for me

I was free from the corporate hamster wheel.

I was a new author.

But I needed another stream of income outside of Uber and Lyft (per the coaching masterclass that I signed up for).

And I needed a coaching business (per the coaching masterclass that I signed up for).

Have I always been the go to friend for advice? Yes

Do I find myself empowering strangers regularly? Yes

Did that mean I needed to start an actual coaching business?

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The intentions were pure. But I had to be honest with myself. I enjoy helping people but an actual coaching business was way left field from what my true passion is and that’s writing.

Back to the drawing board I went.

3rd Lesson Learned About Entrepreneurship

It’s going to cost you

And I ain’t just talking money.

Now granted, I do look at the remaining 43 copies of my book like, look at all that money just sitting there.

As I felt myself slowly transitioning into the “starving artist” category, I knew I needed to dig deeper into my creative repertoire for an additional means of income. Whatever it was, I needed it to be genuine. I went to my vision board to see what I could knock off the list. Ah yes. Pretty Dope Right? merchandise.

I’ve never been much of an artist but I’ve always had a knack for creative direction. A few folks in my tribe were using an app for their promotions. One night I downloaded it and created a few designs and it’s been on and popping ever since.

As with most things, I dived in head first without a damn clue.

Wait. I forgot about purchasing the actual t-shirts. Printing costs. Shipping costs. Oh yeah, and the most important piece- setting. price point so that I could make a profit on the shirts. Where the hell was my realistic mind at?

In essence, I have good intentions for a life of entrepreneurship but there is and will continue to be so much more to learn. I’m going to be even more uncomfortable outside of my comfort zone. I’m going to have to sacrifice a few more things. I’m still learning how to function when my body is only on 20%. It sucks on most days. But deep down I wouldn’t have it any other way. I know in my heart that I’m on the right path even though I don’t have a clue as to what the hell I’m doing.