I hate Love Songs

Love is not just a verb, it’s you looking in the mirror 
Love is not just a verb, it’s you looking for it maybe.”

-Kendrick Lamar, Poetic Justice

Confession: I love listening to love songs. The melody. The patience the artist gives every element, creating beautiful harmony, accompanied by smooth vibrations and rhythms that take you into a new universe. But I hate them too. I hate how vulnerable I become listening to every word of patience, hope, monogamy and embracing the imperfections of someone who embraces yours.

 

I’m only 24, but I have felt the powers of love’s heartbreak, beat skips, control and self-awareness.

The term love has always been a weird one for me. Growing up, I would consider that I was surrounded by lots of love. My mom showed me day in and day out how much she loved me, mostly with actions, but she was never above sitting me down, holding me tight and letting me know that she loves me, all parts. My grandmother was the most intimate. She had such a comfortable hand squeeze, and you just wanted to hold her. Her laughter showed how happy she was with every moment. Her love is unconditional and knows no bounds. Then there was my grandfather who was the first real impression of love I’ve seen from man to woman done well. Not perfectly, but enough to withstand all trials and obstacles that came in the way of the relationship. It wasn’t all gifts and glamour. (Think “Everybody Hates Chris” Father vibes) but it was true and honest. It was “I only see her” and “She is my Rib” (Genesis 2: 18-24).
But as much of the positive sides of love I have seen, I realize that there have been many instances of toxic love as well that I’ve either witnessed, or experienced first hand. For example, I didn’t grow up in a typical father and mother household. At the age of seven, my parents were signing off on a divorce. My first relationship in theory was perfect in the way they showed me love, but as life went on, I realized that I was undergoing mental abuse in the sense of always feeling low and insecure about my abilities to please and keep them around. While I was trying to show them how much I loved them, there was always push back, which often led to accusations of whether or not I was being faithful and if I could be trusted. That set the tone inadvertently for my attractions to men after and overstaying my welcome in relationships or not walking away from harmful situationships.

 

My last relationship was every piece of right and wrong with a perfect balance. On the one side, I had a best friend I felt I could rely on. He made me feel comfortable sharing my inner thoughts and insecurities, and was very gentle with those things. He wasn’t necessarily a provider, but if there was something I needed, for the most part I never went without. But on the flip side, arguments on my feelings and the validity of actions were very one-sided. I was often made to feel like I read too much into things that turned out to be very true. The level of emotional intimacy given didn’t match what was being poured out, causing ruts of feeling like I wasn’t in a relationship at all. For every “I love you” and “you’re beautiful”, It was almost always paired with something that would make me cry or cause me some sort of pain and loneliness.
Reflecting on each of those instances isn’t being said to make any of those men come off as not capable of giving the right kind of love to the right person. I’m grateful for what has been shared in those relationships. And I value the way they did love me. But it also shows me the red flags I can’t ignore when it comes to allowing someone that kind of access to me. And it starts with me seeing my own red flags.
For one, being a lover of love, I can fall very easily for a person who shows me the level of intimacy I’m looking for. Everything from enlightening conversations, to the way my hands or hips are held to direct eye contact. It’s very easy for me to ignore anything else that taints my vision of that person. But that has gotten me in the most trouble.
I can also be very one sided in the way I love. My love can be overbearing because all I want to do is provide the best physically (i.e. experiences, gifts, etc) and emotionally so that my partner never feels left without. Left without a shoulder to cry on, or someone to vent to, a partner to trust and help with whatever is needed, etc.  But subliminally it really shows how insecure in myself I really am. It stems from my need to always perform and be validated constantly.
I am learning how to listen more. What is a situation telling me when it comes to what I should do? One of the best words of advice was written by a famed poet, Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” I can be very bad at that, but I think in some ways It’s normal. A person really only shows what they want to. You then learn more with time.
Over time, I’ve come to understand that love is very complex. There’s no true guide on how to love and the right and wrong ways to love a person. There’s not enough on how to truly love yourself and how that connects to the way you love others. In my own experiences, I have recently only realized much about myself and the things that need to happen in order for me to truly open myself up to being accessed fully by my next partner. One of the things I realized is that i’ve never fully given myself time to be alone. Therefore, I don’t truly know who I am outside of a relationship. These past several months have been the most uncomfortable because of it. But I’m learning how to better appreciate this time and what it could lead to.
I have plenty of moments where my singleness gets the best of me. Where many days I think something is wrong with me because i’m not in a relationship. Or feeling frustrated when a guy tells me “Yes, You are the ideal girl, but you’re too perfect/good for me.” I am learning, daily, that I was created to be who and what I am, and that is enough. That all of who I aim to become is extraordinary. That even on days when I can’t recognize myself, where I falter because of my desire to be loved (back), or when I’m just way too hard on myself, that I will make an effort to pick up the pieces and try again.

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The Road Less Traveled

“Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

We hear the saying all the time — that all good things must come to an end. Well, I say, great things never see a stopping point.

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On June 20, 2016, a small town girl put on her city boots and embarked on the most important journey of her life: becoming a news producer at her first love – Live 5 News.

I remember coming home every single day growing up, and my mom blocking time on the TV from 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. so she could see what her news of the day was. And don’t you dare touch that remote any time in between. Before the night is over, she’s checking back into the 11 p.m. show because she needed to know if we were walking out the door with jackets for school in the morning.

Fast forward to post-grad life after the University of South Carolina, and it’s me becoming a part of that voice, helping to provide that feeling of safety for other families, and hoping that there is a mom, or father, an auntie or a grandparents that depended on, and was more than satisfied with what was being projected on their screens.

Over the last few years, I’ve learned something so important about my journey as a journalist: I can do this. And if I can do this, I can do anything.

From dreaming of being able to work with those I see on my T-V Screens, to living that lifestyle, and making a difference one story at a time.

To late nights, and missed holidays with families and friends, to laughs, and tears, to successes and sometimes a not-so good show.

I’ve been placed in a position to provide assistance, motivate change in and showcase the people and unique places that make up the Holy City.

I learned.

I grew.

And for that, I’m thankful.

Thankful for brand new opportunities.

Thankful for a journey that opened my mind, and my heart.

No journey is perfect, or ever easy, but you must always find meaning in the path you walk.

So with that I say, cheers to a new chapter, and thank you to everyone I have met along this journey that has become my forever family.

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I Lost My Car, Still Searching for Life

This series was supposed to start a little differently.

I was supposed to go into some background on why “Unwritten” exists. I was supposed to tell you how I’ve had a lot of pent up feelings and situations that I never really spoke about, and how being more vulnerable and transparent has been my thing lately. So, I wanted to be open and honest. Not just when things are good, but when things are rough too. I wanted to open up more about fears, and how scary mine are, but how I’ve been working to not let them define me. I wanted to be transparently motivational (we’ll coin that as a term for now).  But then, I lost my car. And to be honest, the world around me stopped for what feels like 10 years.

I want to preface this by saying – It’s not about the car. If I had to choose between my life and my car, thank God for breathing. But that’s the thing. I haven’t been breathing. I haven’t been living. I haven’t just been for the entire year. If I’m being honest, life has been extremely hard for me. I’ve lost something, or have gone through something, every. Single. Month. In the year 2018. So losing something that I’ve worked so hard to get at a time where, in my eyes, I had not much more to lose, really did something to me.

I’ve been trying to find the words for those feelings, while silently piecing together everything that’s been happening to try and find myself again. To find the lesson. But I haven’t been very good at it.

Back in February 2016, I made a down payment on my first car. This comes years after broken promises from someone I’ve been trying to establish a consistent familial relationship with for years that it would be coming “soon”. But, soon never came for me. After becoming friends with the clerks at Greyhound stations all over the East Coast, to finally making enough to “upgrade” to Amtrak, maybe picking up a few rentals here and there, I got her. Miracle. I found my Miracle.

From long evening drives and loud speakers when my mind just didn’t want to process my day to day life, to surprise visits to my mom or brother, to just getting out and seeing parts of the United States and helping to make curating random events easier. Miracle has been a lifelong treat, and a great start to my adulthood.

But then I lost her.

October 11, 2018 – I was heading into work after a hard conversation with a friend about how hard this year really has been for me. How things are changing before my eyes in my then relationship, my family life, and even down to my career. I was dealing with change after change after change that I knew I needed to take action on and finally figure out.

When I walked away from that conversation – I had a little more confidence. Perspective.

And then I pulled out – and I was hit. Directly. Hit and knocked unconsciously for what felt like hours.

A few weeks prior, I wrote a sticky note with wise words from Pastor Michael Todd: “Your hardest hit will be the one you don’t see coming.”

And that was my hardest hit of the year.

That was the icing on the cake for me.

And internally I lost it. At that time, I wasn’t even thinking about how I would even get around. I just couldn’t believe that after what was a year of me constantly LOSING – there was still MORE for me to LOSE.

Those who knew gave me a lot of reassuring messages and helpful words. And then there were some who I expected to show up a little more – and they didn’t. And that hurt.  To lose again at a very tender moment of my life.

After the accident, I only had about 3 days to only focus on the accident and affairs (which is a whole other internal battle). And then it was back to work, but I wasn’t present. Suddenly, this entire year started to take over my entire life and I couldn’t catch a grip.

I found myself waking up, and immediately crying. Every. Single. Day. It became a routine, or I should say it took over my routine. I would force myself to take extra time out to find something positive to focus on. Whether it be a few things I was looking forward to each day, having tough talks with God which never ceased, or focusing on a quote or message that could get me through. But it was hard.

I couldn’t find the motivation to work at my best, which made things even worse because I am my own worst critic. And in some ways, I felt like no one around me could understand what was happening. I began secluding myself – shutting off my social media, breaking my phone (on accident) with no rush on having it turned on to further silence things around me. I was no longer making regular appearances at events. While I couldn’t force life to stop for me,  in doing those things, I felt I had a break.

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.

In my break down, I’ve learned so much about myself. The biggest being I can and will overcome any obstacle that comes my way. I am the light that shines through in my darkest times. Though I may feel alone, I will always have the love and care of God by my side. And thankfully, He’s blessed me to have a strong support system even when I do feel too down and out to notice.

I’ve learned that there is no such thing as pity in the work force. It’s a great disservice to me to be off of my game because it gives people ammunition to think that I cannot handle what comes my way, and that is simply not true. I have also learned that it is okay to be human and communicate. Communicate with your team and your bosses, no matter what you feel. Your feelings are important.

My focus has increased much more on what my needs and priorities are. In eliminating distractions and zoning into my feelings and emotions, I was more able to acknowledge and accept that right now, I am not my strongest self. That it’s okay to step away from anything that doesn’t allow you to take care of yourself. If it is meant to be, the opportunity will be there.

As we enter the new year, I encourage you to place self-care at the top of your goals. I encourage you to be honest with yourself about where you are, and what you need. I encourage you to be honest with your friends, your loved ones, and even those around you in the work force. You don’t have to be this all powerful supernatural  being. My “in my head” mentor, Myleik Teele made a very big point on her October podcast “How I’m Learning to Ask for Help”: “Accepting help is hard because it requires you giving up control.”

This year, I had no control over any aspect of my life. And that was very hard for me to accept. I was prideful when it came to asking for help, and in some ways, I still am. I have the idea that asking for help equates to me being a burden. But, in having help from others, I could have probably avoided a lot of situations made worse due to “fear”. In 2019, we’re breaking up with “fear” and we’re entertaining “confidence” and “joy”.

In the coming months, my new blog series, “Unwritten” will unfold into spirals of transparency and hard conversations. I will be my most honest, and I hope you don’t mind having a seat at the table and taking off the mask with me. Thank you in advance for your community.

 

In and Out – The Sacred Way to Love Yourself

The idea of self care is a universal foreign language to the busiest of entrepreneurs, worker bees and career enthusiasts. But in the past several years, it has also become somewhat of a trend. You see it everywhere. From aromatherapy inspired products (heck, they have an entire stones inspired section of Bath and Body Works!), to health and fitness and what the best products are to consume and spend your dollars on.

It’s through these rising conversations that I was able to connect with a person who is not at all a stranger to self care, or taking care of others.

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Khet Waas Hutip is the owner of Sacred Rootz, LLC, housed in the same facility as several other equally amazing Black owned businesses (such as Third Eye Lounge and Central Station’s Official Mixtape Headquarters) at Grand Central Station in North Charleston. We were introduced by my fellow client, Ikeoma Divine, who owns Third Eye Lounge. During our conversation, I was amazed at how often I was around his business, but never got an opportunity to peek inside.

He broke down his story, sharing how he got started at a very young age through his upbringing. Hear how he was able to turn something that is a natural way of life into something that was able to help others around him.

Believe in Your Own Magic

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Are you happy with your life?

In a room filled with fellow Black girl bosses with their own careers, passions, and most authentically, struggles, I was forced to think deeply about this question.

But before doing that, I was asked to grab a card on a door filled with plenty of quotes – all encouraging, all reflective.

dream big april_3

They were very similar to those I had seen around the Dream Big Weekend trips .

Afterwards, upon walking in, I was greeted by the voice of Jessica herself, bubbly, loud, and getting herself ready to do life with several other women lucky to be invited to this closed, bonding, empowerment session.

How would you rate your life at this moment?

In front of us was a sheet of paper with a color wheel and colored pencils. We were asked to rate our life in parts such as career, friendships, romantic relationships, health, etc.

Writing a simple number down wasn’t hard. Coloring was even therapeutic, but having to elaborate on why I chose those numbers, and why I felt the way I did was difficult.

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There’s a notebook that I carry around all the time, and on the outside it reads “Happiness is an inside job.” Through the intimate discussions, I thought back to this very quote, and how I am in control of what I choose to take in my life. There is no reason to be unhappy if I can make a choice to do something or think about something differently. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but there’s power in words and action. Our words manifest the action. And with everyone sharing where they are – young, and seasoned, everyone had the common goal of happiness and fulfillment.

Fulfillment in our relationships. Happiness with our careers and personal endeavors. Upon leaving, we eached read the card we chose one by one. And altogether, without even realizing it, we had told a magnified story that included one another.


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Jessica Amaro is the creator of #DreamBigWeekend – which encourages you to take a few days away from any distractions, to be around other women who resonate with you, and places a focus on living our best lives.

You can visit her website to see the Dream Big Weekend Experience at https://www.dreambigweekend.com/

Be sure to LIKE her Facebook page as well to see a recap of last year’s Dream Big Weekend trip. More to come from this year!

Lights, Camera, Glam – Beat To A T

Makeup is often described as a cover up for women and their natural features. But to a woman themselves, it is often described as an enhancer. The finishing touch that completes a look. And maybe on a not so tip top, energetic day, it’s a huge confidence boost.


Years ago, MoNique said it best on her talk show: “When you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you look good.” Jasmine has become a vessel not only in the beauty industry, but for Black women who utilize her services and know her best as “Beat To A T”.

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Beat 2 a T Beauty Services is a brand that caters to every aspect of beauty.  From make up and hair, to mink lash extensions, it is the one stop shop beauty service.

When asked what Jasmine’s desires are for her business, it centered around being able to go above and beyond for her clients, providing spectacular service, but also stepping outside of her own comfort zone and getting herself out there.

beat to at proof

You can find Beat 2 A T beauty services on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Beatme2aT/ 

In my element

When you enter inside Grand Central Station, located on Remount Road in North Charleston, you’ll instantly feel drawn to many places. One of which you’ll find tucked away to your left with a beckoning aroma and soothing tunes.

3rd Eye Lounge becomes your home away from home.

It becomes hard to drop in for five or ten minutes when you’ve become curious about the beauty inside. Ikeoma Divine, the creator, welcomes you in with a smile. Though mostly introverted, the conversations you will have with her will place you on higher ground.


One of the first things she will tell you is that the answer lies within you. She provides the tools to help you acknowledge what you’ve already known to be true. I guess that’s why there’s a level of comfort within her dwelling. Creating a space of authenticity. That is what she provides by doing it all flawlessly.

Are your chakras aligned?



Over the next seven weeks, Ikeoma will lead others a journey of self transformation. Through her Rootwork for Self Transformation course, she will help others remove blockages and stagnation of 7 energy points all connected to one’s emotional and physical body. This will all be done through rootwork rituals helping you to explore the imbalances of seven chakras.

For more information, visit https://oriinstitute.com/course/rootwork-for-self-transformation/ to explore and sign up today.

You can find out more about the safe space Keke has through 3rd Eye Lounge here:

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