Because Life Is: About Growth

A new year brings many different thoughts about growth, where you should be, where you see yourself, and whether or not you really changed for the better. Some do it through resolutions. Some do it through reflection and acknowledgement. Others simply just keep it moving and work on answering those questions a day at a time.

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This is where some of the hardest moments start to sink in for me that not a lot of people really know about.

I’m so thankful to God for the amount of growth I’ve been seeing in myself, and it all really dates back to 10th grade.

I will always remember that time of my life because that was a very hard year for me, and it really led to a downward spiral in so many ways. I remember myself back then not really knowing about who I was and the potential I had to be everything that I wanted. God really placed some obstacles and challenges in my life that were hard to overcome. At that time, I didn’t have any intentions to overcome them. I had given up on myself.

I remember being around my friends in class, and getting a message from my mom to meet her. I had no idea what the message was for, or the intent. I just know that if it’s important enough for me to be pulled out of class at 1 PM, something big is happening. Fast forward, we’re making a u-turn in the middle of the highway to follow an ambulance back to the hospital.

My grandmother was the patient.

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Many people who know me well knows that my grandmother is the closest person to me in my family. It can be debated, it can be argued. But, she is the G.O.A.T (Greatest of all time).  But suddenly, I was worried. My grandmother had been sick for a while at this point. She had multiple hospital visits and surgeries, but things appeared to have been going well. But that day, I was sitting in a hospital room, and I was so confused.

Hours later, my grandfather quietly walks up to my mother. I cannot see his face. I can only hear his voice. He said the words I never thought he would say.

“Mary is gone.”

My heart paused for a few moments. It felt like hours. I wish it were days I could just sit and not process anything.

I think at that point, I burst into tears.

Not the cute tears either.

I felt my whole world fall apart. This moment. I was heartbroken. I was angry. I was young and confused by what was happening. I always hate reflecting on that day because it was just a downward spiral. From having to tell my brother and my cousin, to having to tell my great grandmother that her daughter has now gone to be with God. It was a lot. And I wanted out.

I was known for being a very happy go-lucky individual. Even now, people tell me I bring life and joy to every conversation and encounter, but it was that day and that moment that I couldn’t be happy. I couldn’t make myself smile. I couldn’t be for myself what I was to everyone else. It was like a reality check for me, because it allowed me to feel emotions I had suppressed for such a long time because I always felt like I had to be okay.

In highschool, I was a very different kind of girl. You know my name for the 90s hit show, “Living Single”, but if you looked at my ipod, you wouldn’t even recognize the names of people I listened to. From Three Days Grace, to Bullet For My Valentine and Slipknot. Powerful, hard heavy metal. I believe what a person listens to really says a lot about who they are. The kind of tunes I listened to back then were very hard hitting, emotional tracks. They spoke on various things, but they spoke on depression a lot. So, during this grieving moment, I began to face a battle with the infamous D word.

It became normal for me to sit in my room alone, blasting my music and crying myself to sleep at night. I had contemplated a lot of things back then. Ways I could disappear without causing any kind of pain to my family. I thought about overdosing. I prayed to God at many points that he would take my life away. It became a rollercoaster ride to wake up and try the same routine of going to school and coming home and tip toeing around my grandmother’s name and memory. My best friend noticed a lot of these changes in me, and played a big role in why I am still here. She questioned me about the motive behind my thoughts, prayed for me, and just existed with me, even when I didn’t want to explain or answer any of her questions.

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It is so important to have people around you like that in those hard moments. That was a very hard moment for me, and even now, it’s difficult. I know my grandmother would be proud of the woman that I am and the accomplishments that I’m making.

But, I didn’t share all of this with you for it to be a sob story.

This is a situation that I never found the strength to open up about, because it was the weakest time period of my life. But looking at myself now, I realize it was the catalyst for the strong woman I have become. I needed to hurt in order to grow. I needed to be pushed. I’ve been motivated by that hard time in my life to never cease fighting for the very things I want in life and my desires. I never stopped learning how to be more and more of a strong woman like my grandmother in all aspects, from relationships to my career. But it’s all a learning process.

So as you face hard moments in your life, face them head on. Acknowledge that they exist. Take a moment away if you need to in order to get back on track. You don’t have to always be okay. It’s okay to not always be okay. Develop a strong support system around you that you can be real with in every way because then the going gets tough, they’ll never leave your side.

What’s a hard moment you find yourself struggling with? In what ways are you working to face that head on and become a better you?

In loving memory of Mary Pressley Nesmith

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(pictured with her is my grandfather who has also since gone to be with the Lord a year later)

Because Life Is: about being humble

All about being humble.

It’s almost the very end of 2016, and it feels like I have nothing left to give to the year.

It almost seems as if I don’t have the energy to rejoice for 2017.

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This year was a very hard fought year. Meaning, I fought for everything I earned and took no prisoners: (schemers, leeches or negativity) along with me. This year was full of learning lessons that needed to be learned at the perfect time. While I think it’s important to focus on resolutions and things you want to attain for the next year, sometimes it’s necessary to sit back and look at all of the things you accomplished right now, and even placing a focus on the things you needed more of that could better serve you in the year to come.

What I realized about 2016, and almost every other year prior, is that I’m really good at being there when others need me. I’m also very good about being in 5 different places at one time. But what I didn’t realize is how unhealthy all of those things really were when I wasn’t inserting myself into the equation.

College fed into my need to multitask. I felt like I always had to get everything done in a timely fashion. Most of that meant sleepless nights or writing out works in the car, in other classes, or avoiding sleep at all costs. Now, cheers to adulthood where none of that is possible! Literally – try producing a show in your sleep. You’ll be very disappointed when you prepare for the day and breaking news happens.

I have a weakness even while adulting that allows me to believe I can still do those superhero things and not feel any consequences of it. But how I was wrong. In college, you had an idea of how your day would go, and it wasn’t uncommon to sprinkle things in where you felt they were the perfect fit. I wake up daily now and I never know how my day will go (even this blog post was unplanned). It’s just the nature of life.

But just because I can’t tell the future, doesn’t mean I have to ignore making rest and happiness a mandatory objective in my daily life. I realize that lack of sleep is not quite what I need to thrive if I want to succeed and grow daily. I need to give back to myself in the biggest, but smallest ways. I can’t ignore those moments when my body tells me, “you’ve done enough.”

What exactly is enough?

That’s something I could never really define, and I’m having a hard time figuring that out even in this very moment. Because I know the path I’ve chosen to take with my career and passions, I should be content, right? Things should be good, right?

But what happens when others around you take a different path?

I have friends from all walks of life, many of them with the most creative spirits. They’re not aspiring to be journalists. They’re aspiring to get their art off the ground. They’re aspiring to have freedom. They’re aspiring to travel more, enjoy life a little more. Maybe become doctors, lawyers, attend graduate school. Become a nomad?

All of these journeys have their influences, but what many people don’t quite tell you is that they also have the ability to make you doubt yourself and your own passions and your own path. I can’t tell you how many times this year alone that I thought I wanted to quit because things weren’t quite going as I expected. When things just didn’t seem to be worth it anymore. But then I realized why those feelings were setting in.

It goes back to humility. The act of selflessness. The act of appreciation. I wasn’t separating myself from my past life of college fun, freedom to be a journalist and a poet and an artist all at once. I wasn’t allowing myself to transition into the now moment of my life to really appreciate what’s happening and how blessed I truly am. If the people around you don’t motivate you to want THAT kind of lifestyle, it could either be one of two things:

  1. Check your friends, boo.
  2. Check yourself.

In this instance, I knew my friends were DOPE. I needed to check THYSELF.

Going forward, I want more humility sprinkled into my daily life. I want more joy and peace with my journey and more of an appreciation for what God has blessed me with. Someone posted a question on Twitter, asking their followers to reflect on the things they accomplished this year, and encouraging them to celebrate themselves. When preparing my answer, I realize my track record is a high one and very groundbreaking. To graduate college and almost immediately get my dream job in my desired career field is nothing but the grace of God. To live in a new area that is filled with hope, light and love is the icing on the cake. To be in a position where one day I can better provide for myself, soon enough giving back to my family all they’ve given me in the simplest gestures. It’s very encouraging.

2017 is a promising year, but honestly, I can’t even bring myself to focus on resolutions when I haven’t quite yet finished up celebrating me making it through this year.

So cheers to 2017, but also, cheers to the journey of 2016 that is preparing me to move into a better way of life.

“Always stay gracious”

  • K

 

Because Life Is: a second chance.

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Life is a beautiful journey you have to go back and rediscover time and time again just to really appreciate it. I found myself at times during these past few months being so invested in the perfection of having a lifestyle that I could be proud of. When I say that, I mean that I began to think very superficially about things I felt I needed and things I feel like I should accomplish. I wanted everyone to acknowledge that I was putting in work, and with that comes the need for constant likes and compliments. I got lost in the idea that if I helped and supported others, that eventually the same due respect would be given.

But life serves you up lessons in unique ways.

I questioned a lot of things, the most consistent being whether or not I was good enough for much of the very things that I wanted to accomplish.

I’m so grateful for the reassurance that many of my greatest friends and family have surrounded me with.

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I’ve had to ask myself countless times again and again how much my dreams are worth, all while reminding myself of my worth and that it means something.

This series, #BecauseLifeIs is going to be very transparent and very real.

Everything that you could think of — from parts of my life I rarely discuss to love and relationships to career journeys.

Stick around for it all, and thanks for the support, always.

-KD

Thank you + Hello again

I appreciate you.

I can’t even begin to say how grateful I am for the friends and loved ones I have who called or sent messages checking in on little ole me during Hurricane Matthew. It was greatly appreciated all the same.

I’m also grateful to be typing this up in my own apartment space where thankfully there have been no damages due to the storm, the power still works, and everything is exactly how I left it. If I learned nothing from this weekend’s 24 hour coverage of the storm, I’ve learned to count my blessings, no matter how big or small.

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The Live 5 news team did an amazing job coming together these past few days to bring our viewers any information we could to keep them safe. As a producer, this is very important to me. I value those who love us and what we do because only a smidget of it is actually seen on camera. A whole lot of the work comes from behind the scenes with decisions on who covers what, how that is presented to the viewers and for how long.

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I didn’t get many pictures of the newsroom over the weekend, but let me tell you: it was a whole lot of hustle and bustle! Many of us spent the night at Live 5’s headquarters so that we could all safely and with rest make sure that we were ready for the day’s events.

We stressed.

We laughed.

We fellowshipped.

We were all together in one space. Not everything goes well 100%, but our main goal is what the viewer needs from us, and we all came together to get it done.

While many may still be feeling the effects of Hurricane Matthew, I want to send lots of encouragement and light your way. Make it to all of your destinations safely, and remember that my team and I are always on your side, no matter where you are.

-K

P.S. I promise, I will blog often. Look out for personal notes and things on Mondays ❤

 

Checking in -Millyrock and Blessings

Checking in.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been around, chatting about any subject.

That’s because for the first time in a long time, I spent more time living and less time dreaming.

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Representing the lowcountry well ❤ – Ann McGill, anchor at Live 5 news and I after a morning show

It’s been a crazy incredible two months since I’ve graduated from the University of South Carolina. Never would I have expected for my life to move so quickly. I’m honored that I even have the opportunity to do what I love day in and day out. And I’d like to think that the people I work with help me a great deal with making my job a bit easier.

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Weekend morning crew: Meteorologist Sagay Galindo and Anchor Hannah Mosely

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My executive producer, Chaunte Turner and I

Moving to the city of Charleston is a completely new beginning. Outside of the very few friends or people I know in the area, it’s a different lifestyle.  I must say though, between the area being gorgeous and the food being to die for, I can’t complain. And only driving twenty minutes at the least to a beach isn’t so bad either.

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I’m overwhelmed with all of the love and support that’s been given to me in the past month as well. From the love on social media, to the calls and texts. It truly means a lot that you believe in me as much as I’ve grown to really start believing in myself.

I’ve had to learn a lot of things coming into this new transition. The hardest being that not everything comes full circle as quickly as you imagine. I love my job, but my job is not the answer to all of my adulting responsibilities. It’s an addition and one that I’m lucky to love and not see as a job but as my career.

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Learning how to choose what’s best for me and to be unapologetic about that is something that I’m learning how to do better. 

You’ll find that life is a big game of compromise. Sometimes, it’s not always about you or what it is that you want, but what you can do that affects a larger platform.

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Snapchat-1892660913738496409.jpgWith my career at Live 5 News, I’m reminded of how many people actually count on me a day. From the moment that I walk in, my anchors, directors, and production crew are all counting on ME to have an idea. An idea that leads to building a show. That show building leading to better direction for ways my production team can make my ideas come alive.

I’ll admit, I admire my positive outlook on things that I set out to do i general. But often times, I do get nervous. I do fall short sometimes. and I’m learning that in the end, that’s okay. I’m learning how to fully accept that perfect and the imperfect. The ups and the downs.

My life is a dream right now.

Everything that I could possibly ever want has fallen into my lap *cues Chance the Rapper’s Blessings.*

And yet, I understand that the journey does not end here.

It was placed on my heart and mind to tell anyone that’s been in a stagnant place to not ever underestimate the blessings that God has coming your way.

Much love,

K

“I Am Change,” T-shirts available now.

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Cheers to stepping outside of comfort zones and really making things happen within the community.

For the past few years, I have always tried to figure out ways that I could expand the conversation of news media through my communications platform: The Conqueror Movement. Many moments have presented themselves, and we’ve addressed many issues that hit close to home, such as the common stereotypes of the African American male, the natural hair movement and how it’s perceived to other cultures, and now the constant discussion of identity and representation of African Americans in news media (their portrayl, stories that often don’t get discussed, stories that aren’t discussed enough, misconceptions, etc.).

Many have also expressed to me that the platform needs a shirt – and people would actually wear it.

But, I wanted to do something different.

I wanted to create a message – a message that people could identify with and be proud of.

So, I reached out to one of my good friends, Devin Green who is a phenomenal graphic designed and illustrator who owns his own clothing company, Style Clothing Co

He created this vision for me based on what I expressed above and the current campaign I was leading  “I Am Not My Skin”. Thus, “I am Change, I am not the Problem” was born.

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This design was inspired by the voices of many who always seem like they have to explain the importance of their existence because of something as simple as race or gender.

This message couldn’t be more relevant, especially now. By challenging this notion that color tells a lot about who a person is, or gender, we defy what many people begin to call “reality” when it is simply not.

I am hoping that this will not be the end all, be all for The Conqueror Movement, and that we will continue to bring forth many different initiatives and opportunities for conversations like this to occur. This won’t be the last you see of the movement this year, but this is the start of what supporting the initiative looks like. Without you, growth won’t be possible. Invest in the local game changers and change makers.

To support the initiative of the Conqueror Movement by purchasing a t-shirt, click here.

Love,

Khadijah Dennis

The World is your STAGE.

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On Saturday, June 11, 2016 “The Stage” was set in the private location of the Charlotte Trolley Museum on a street of Charlotte, NC filled with art and a lively energy that was infectious.

When entering the facility, attendees were greeted with the message:

“All the world’s a stage.”

And from then on, it truly was.

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From the neo soul and jazz vibes of the music played, to the lovely cocktails of the contributor, “Just a Sip.” The atmosphere of #TheStage16 was created for everyone to embrace each other and, well, embrace themselves for being present and in the moment.

I found myself soaking it all in. After all, I hardly could believe I had received an invitation to this magnificent event.

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The Stage was created to highlight creative + introspective individuals fulfilling their purpose.

The honoree class of #TheStage16 was a direct representation of that focus.

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Each honoree has made a name for themselves and has created a positive impact in their communities. It is a positive influence for those who attended the stage like myself who are just entering the realm of “the real world” and trying to decide which path to embark on.

I took away small things from each person’s introduction and words of advice.

“Be the change that you want to see.”

“Follow your passions and dreams. Money will come. That’s not your motivation.”

“Always be a reaching hand for someone.”

“No matter what adversity comes your way, don’t worry. God isn’t going to let you fail.”

“Everyone has a responsibility to make this world a better place.”

 

Even getting the chance to interact with friends and people I’ve met for the first time was an enlightening experience.

I remember sitting on one of the couches as I ran into two of my colleagues from the University of South Carolina. We had a full conversation about being the change we wanted to see in our communities and challenging others to do the same.

We also discussed how difficult that could be at times when others around you are not ready to see you make those strides. I responded with a couple of quotes myself.

“You have to be your biggest supporter, your biggest investor, your biggest everything.

I am lucky to be gravitating towards people who want to see positive change just as much as I do, but also being a new graduate and having gone through several transitions with friends and career opportunities, I realize the importance of valuing yourself.

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If you see no value in yourself and who you are, what you are capable of, and you don’t believe in your own dreams and your ability to carry that out, then the journey can be even more difficult because you’re no longer fighting the world, you’re fighting against yourself.

All of these enlightening thoughts came to me in this moment. The Stage.

Having seen what it’s like to see plans fail, friends come and go, opportunities enter into my life that I never imagined would be possible to achieve, I realize that the world truly is my stage.

Coming from the small town of Kingstree, SC where not a lot of opportunities are made available for young people with dreams who want to see the world because they are made to think that it will never be possible for them to achieve greater, it meant a lot to be standing in a room looking at individuals who have defied the odds.

Even the creator who made all of this possible, Mr. Bryant Kirk White, is and has always been since our first meeting, a living example that all of my visions have a canvas.

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Jeremiah 29:10 “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.”

The next verse talks about the plans that God has once that hard work is completed. All put into perspective by this great.

Even as I am typing this, things are not all perfect, but things are all aligning in the greatest way possible, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

“All the world’s a stage. What will you do with it?”

For more information about ABevy Inc. or about one of it’s initiatives, The Stage, visit http://www.abevy.org.

To make a donation towards Abevy’s financial endowments that make young individual’s fulfilling their purpose possible, please visit: http://www.abevy.org/the-stage

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Queen City – The Birth of Dreams

The graduate life has been nothing short of fun filled, exciting and most of all, busy for me.

But it’s granted me the experience I’ve always wished to have.

I went from walking across the commencement stage to being on a road trip to Charlotte, NC where the real journey began.

Can you imagine having a dream you’ve always wanted to come true finally happening?

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DiVersitile of Columbia, SC — (left to right: R4L, Brittaney Chatman, Kanisha Keitt, Kendrick Retroversal Houser)

I had the pleasure of meeting 3/4 of this phenomenal group during my mentor, Brittaney Chatman’s production, “A Woman’s Suffrage” back in 2014. It was then that I realized Britt had other hidden talents — she loved music and was an avid performer. Along with that she was a part of a group, DiVersitile, made up of longtime friends who all equally love music. When Britt and I reconnected after graduation and she mentioned that she wanted me to be a part of a project that the group was involved in, I couldn’t say no.

This would mean that I would also get to work closely with Kendrick, who in addition to being a part of the group is also involved with his own platform, Good Food Radio, which stands for  Getting out our Dreams, Focusing on our destiny. 

It’s ironic that the two groups would come together in this instance as my journey with them both has seen this mantra come alive.

When you’re passionate about something, you stop at nothing until it’s done.  -Self quote

The idea of the link up is to get DiVersitile closer to that dream they discussed by finally recording their debut EP.

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For an entire weekend, I got really close and personal with these guys in a recording booth more fit for one person than two and a camera, and super comfortable space for playback and laughter.

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I watched magic unfold, first with music writing, then with the actual recording. It was amazing seeing what every individual  artist brought to the table. Brittaney had a very keen sense of detail — she could hear things within the music that she didnt like, or didn’t flow well that moved the project along progressively.

Kanisha had a knack for bringing it all together with her voice. She could harmonize and improvise. She has a creative spirit and energy that works and really makes things click.

R4L and Kendrick are the heartbeat and the dream makers. Without their knowledge of music engineering and also very constructive, but creative criticism of what works best for the overall song and project, I don’t know how this project could’ve been a success.

“Depending on the story that you’re telling, you can be relatable to everybody or nobody.” – Chance the Rapper

Music has a way of bringing a unique energy and lesson out of everyone. When I was younger, I had this perspective that all it really took to be a successful artist was to have a voice, the ability to write your own music and determination.

Well.

I was right about two for sure. Nowadays, it’s easier to collaborate with a songwriter if you’re lucky.

But it definitely takes alot more than just those things.

It takes alot of time and patience.

For this group, this IS a God DREAM.

But it was also something that won’t be taken lightly.

After a full weekend of recording till the wee hours of the morning and doing it all over again, a celebration is definitely in order once the EP drops.

When it comes to a dream, I’ve seen what it means to never let it cross your mind and not work until your end goal is met. This further shows me what my life will be like, especially over the next year.

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I’ve been learning to count it all as joy, the good times, the easy, the complicated, the unknown. It all leads to something grand. All leads to something bigger and better and more fulfilling.

I’ve learned that having the right people and energy in your circle is super important! You never EVER need to feel like you’re making “moves” and things happen all on your own. Sometimes, you NEED that shoulder to lean on and really get your feet on the ground running all over again.

So let me ask you,

what’s your dream?

How are you making it happen?

Who are you making it happen with?

xo

Khadijah

 

 

 

More Than A Kickback

“Have you ever been a part of something bigger than yourself?”

I’ve always heard this question being asked; in movies, in class rooms or casual conversation.

But Wednesday night, I actually had the opportunity to experience that feeling.

Earlier in the year, I had a sit down meeting with my good friend, DaQuan Blyther. We had worked with each other previously on his brainchild organization, Black and Consciousness Committee which raises awareness and expands consciousness about issues happening in the African American community.

He approached me about an idea. I assume because he knew that any idea he brought to me, I was sure to make sure that it happened. And indeed it did.

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More Than a Kickback would ideally be the space young adults could come to and network with artists and innovators, have a drink after work and turn up in the same space.

We communicated about this for weeks — a little over a month. And then, Wednesday happened.

Through spoken word that moved you, music that grooved you and maybe a few drinks that helped make the first two things easier, it was an unforgettable night.

I’m so grateful to have been a part of such an amazing experience. Something “larger than myself.” and I hope that there’s more to come of it all soon.

-K

For more information about Smooth Ent and the purpose of the organization, follow @smooth.ent on Instagram!

New Additions in Photography

The Class of 2016 is here and they are leaving their mark. I’m so excited to be a part of this wonderful class. I’m even more excited that I got to use the opportunity to share my skills and help with photography for a lot of my great friends and colleagues.

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I hope you enjoy what you see and will think of me for your next big moment as well.

Check out the rest of my portfolio here.

For inquiries about pricing or  availability, email me at iconquer2012@gmail.com.