What I Learned While Brunchin’ With Jas’

I loooveeeeeee free things! Free coffee, free meals, free concert tickets–you name it! So when Jasmine Diane announced one last giveaway to Brunchin’ with Jas I instantly became geeked.

So, why did I desire to attend the fall Brunchin with Jas? Isn’t it obvious? I saw this brunch as an opportunity to network with like-minded individuals. I had spent a little time reading testimonies of past attendees and seeing photos of the brunches online which is why I told myself I had to experience it firsthand.

I thought that actually being there would help me connect with new people. To be quite honest, networking is a challenge sometimes because breaking the ice is kinda awkward for me. Still, I knew attending Brunchin’ with Jas would provide a sense of security that myself and others can benefit from.

And, I was right. The fall brunch was nothing shy of enjoyable. Collectively the attendees and panelists were friendly, adorably stylish, and super encouraging. I literally was welcomed with many smiles upon entering the room.

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Let’s Talk — Body Language

Mantra:

I’m here.

I’m safe.

I’m calm.

I will listen. 

In the age of countless self-help posts, books, and YouTube channels it’s unlikely that you would be without said “help”. Whether you’re searching for ways to eat better, workout consistently, or just accept yourself for who you are–the content is there. After countless hours of researching pro tips you realize you have the power to relinquish all fear and discomfort.

When you think about it. Insecurities are stupid. Yea, I said it. They are stupid. But they exist. They’re these useless, mental inhabitants that only work to weaken your self-image. In my experience, insecurities can make or break you.

I’ve always been insecure about my appearance. More specifically weight/body image. I was always the chubbier friend. Growing up I had an obsession with wanting to lose weight to be skinny. I remember being a kid and my peers were always talking about wearing LimitedToo and I would sit very awkwardly and quietly only wishing I could chime in. A few times I begged my mother to take me shopping there–instead of the JC Penny’s catalog (the HUSKY section at that.) She told me that those clothes weren’t made for my body type.

And she couldn’t have meant any harm–but not being able to wear similar clothes and shop at the same places as my classmates only made it harder for me in terms of self-acceptance. It was another trait that made me stand out amongst my predominately white peers.

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Alexis L. Dupree starting inversion (Photo by Perplex Photography)

Continue reading Let’s Talk — Body Language

Hashtag: Quarter Century Living

A friend asked me what ¬†#quartercenturyliving means and why I always say it. At first I laughed, because I wasn’t really sure. But as time passed and stories arose I figured it out. To sum it up, #quartercenturyliving for me and my friends is a way of not getting caught up in time-sensitive goals that were set prematurely. Like being married with kids by 26 ( ūüėÖaka in 2 weeks) or the attainment of career success in which I haven’t reached yet. It’s my way of telling myself to slow down and trust the process. Admittedly I’m overly obsessed with time and it’s correlation with age and success. I’m learning I don’t need to be. So, here’s to #quartercenturyliving :

How many times have you caught yourself searching for a “how-to” manual on navigating through your twenties? And how many times have you found yourself nearing bottom’s end just because something hadn’t gone as planned? No worries, I do too. I believe we’re all blindly walking this moment-to-moment journey squeezing lemons as they’re thrown. Let’s be honest: these #20somethings can cause tumultuous imbalances.

With the never-ending financial woes, emotional breakdowns (like crying in public at the absolute worst time ever… at work or while sitting in Starbucks), and generally failing your life expectations. I look forward to conversations with my sister-friends over how awkward and troubling our twenties have been so far because the comedic relief let’s me know I’m not a lone. In life–especially these #20somethings–¬†all we really can do is take the good with the bad and grow from there.

Continue reading Hashtag: Quarter Century Living

Redirected Reconciliations: Part Two

Generally speaking, most of us would feel this underlying need to forgive a parent in their exceeding absence.

We’d accept their minimal, sporadic attempts at communicating with us– their child. And those around us expect ¬†us–the child– to overlook our insecurities.¬†Overlook our hurt.¬†Overlook our anger. Even overlook our longing.

We’d allow these strangers ¬†into our spaces with open arms.

Needless to say, we’re still battling ¬†the neglect.¬†We’re still hurting and¬†still processing the confusing abandonment.

Maybe out of  a hint of guilt?

You know–we’d try to overlook the years without them and then compensate with frequent outreach. We’d feel this obligatory need to save-face and start a relationship, on their terms.

In part one of Redirected Reconciliations, I foreshadowed my relationship with two men. One being my absentee, biological dad, and the other being the fill-in (for lack of a better term). As confusing and sticky as my parental structure is, I wanted to share a portion of it with you.

This summer my biological dad reached out to me. This was the first time I’d heard from him since I was 18. At first, numbness took over me. I didn’t know what to feel. I’m always trying to turn the other cheek and often put others before me “because it’s the right thing to do”. So I played the brief game of “catch up”, but it didn’t feel right.

I checked in with myself and told myself I didn’t have to rush to his calls, or rush to him wanting to be in my life, now.

I felt bad, you know, because he’s blood. ¬†I needed to give myself enough time to process everything. When people just pop in and out of your life, especially family, you’re then placed into these multidimensional roles: sister, daughter, aunt, granddaughter… all to ¬†people whom you don’t really know.

And I think it’s appropriate to do a little self validating in situations like this. ¬†Don’t do something your heart’s not completely in just because you don’t want to let anyone down or because others try to defend their absence.

Don’t feel obligated to do anything on someone else’s time.

Just don’t.

 

 

 

 

Dancing With Older Boys

In order to live in your truth, you have to face what you’ve been running from for so long…

There’s no way to sugarcoat the topic of child molestation.

There’s no way to make new what’s been tainted.

There’s no way to erase the memory of lying on a hospital bed, your body being checked and tested, and you having to answer “did he touch you here” time after time.

There’s no way to erase the constant fear of it happening again in the presence of another male.

There’s no way to erase the heightened nervousness, abundance of trust issues, and sure as heck no way to replenish your mother’s peace of mind when you’re away.

There’s no way to regain your innocence…

It’s unsettling to know that 1 in 4 black girls will have been sexually assaulted before reaching 18.

It’s unsettling to relive that moment in time where I, a little girl, became the truth in that statistic.

For years I wanted to believe it didn’t really happen. That he, a family friend, didn’t ask to “show me a dance that only the big kids do” and that it didn’t really involve me and him naked in the act of sex. I often made excuses that he was a teenager so it wasn’t that bad that it happened…

But–since it’s constantly haunted me– I have no choice but to finally speak on it. Over 15 years later, and I am just now coming to coping terms with being molested. Admitting this is scary because I fear it shows weakness. Even though this wasn’t my fault, I still have a ton of embarrassment, when I know I shouldn’t.

Now that I am here, sharing this with the world, I can only hope it will act as a relative notion for anyone who has experienced this, and is looking to heal. Your story is your own, and your healing is your own. Any feeling that we have in healing is valid, and we owe it to ourselves to feel it.

I can’t say that I will ever feel “over it” but my goal is to stop letting this have so much space in my brain. Something I wish I’d done earlier, though, is talked about it.

I was too afraid.

I thought my friends would do one of two things: look down on me or stop talking to me altogether. I thought that I would be ostracized if I ever let anyone know what I went through, and the emotional turmoil it was causing.

Hiding was only making things worse.

Hiding wasn’t allowing me to objectively heal.

Note: We aren’t responsible for the actions of others or their wrongdoings towards us. We, as victims, deserve the support of loved ones.

So, I share with you my healing mantra:

You gotta be honest with yourself .You gotta admit them truths. You gotta heal. You gotta speak your peace. You gotta say your pains. You gotta deal.

Take care of yourself.

Peace and love.

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Hey Girl, You Gotta Love On You More

After spending 5 hours in the ER this weekend I realized I wasn’t caring for myself enough. ¬†First off, I hate hospitals, so me going was an acknowledgment that I sensed something was off.

I called my mother just at the day’s end of Friday, explaining that the chest discomfort I mentioned earlier was still concerning me. She came and took me to the hospital where I had multiple tests done (blood tests, X-rays of my heart, lots of waiting) before being released early Saturday morning.

All of the tests came back fine and the doctor told me what I was experiencing was more than likely related to ¬†heightened anxiety–I left with the diagnosis of stress induced, non-cardiac pain.

And yes… I was annoyed that I had to spend so much time there, and sort of felt like I shouldn’t have even gone to the hospital, but then I realized why I was there. While in that hospital bed I felt uncomfortable, annoyed, and helpless. It made me realize that it’s important for me to manage my stress better so that I won’t end up in that bed again.

Its easy to claim that you’re doing what’s best for you, always remembering to put yourself first.

Yada.

Yada.

Yada…

But even when I’d like to believe that this is a common practice for me, ¬†I don’t think its completely true. If there were ever a word to describe me I think it’d be empathy. And while the ability to empathize is great, I do believe it contributes to a lot of my stress and anxiety simply because I care too much. (Is this even possible??)

About everything–literally– everything.

And in caring too much I find myself stressing out waayyyy too much, weighing possible outcomes, planning for multiple situations to arise.

Et cetera.

Et cetera.

But…I think its safe to say, “girl, take a chill pill!”

Because life’s too long to live stressed out.

Whoosaa.

Who’s with me?

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Santa Monica, 2016

 

Dear Diary: To the Guy Who Broke My Heart

I fell in love with you– accidentally.

We were friends at first– hanging out often.

Then one day I developed a ¬†crush…

I saw love in the way you talked. We cracked jokes together. There was no pressure to be anything. Quiet as kept, I wanted to be with you. When asked about “us”, we denied it like there was no tomorrow.

And let’s be honest…that was probably for the best. We met at an odd timing in our lives.

And yet, loving you was fun, unpredictable, and taught me just how strong I was. Although we had a terrible falling out, I still revisit key parts of our friendship/situationship.

I trusted you when I didn’t trust anyone else. I was vulnerable when I didn’t know I could be. I was lost in a dishonest love.

Us not being an official “us”, and you breaking my heart, showed me just how resilient I could be. There were many–MANY— sleepless nights where I wondered why things had to be the way they were.

To the guy who broke my heart, thank you. Although it’s taken me a while to get here… I thank you for being at the receiving end of your heartache which created a visceral pain.

You showed me that sparkly things eventually dull.

You showed me that if I choose to be passive and not go after what I want, someone else will claim it to be there’s.

You softened my heart.

You prepared me for a love that was solely for me.

A love I wouldn’t have to share.

 

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Stories are only as good as their author.