Getting Back to Me

2017 was all about growth and creating a solid foundation.

On January 1, 2017, I entered this year on the worst term possible. I was struggling with my relationship. Struggling with my self esteem both personally and professionally. I had maintained a lifestyle in Charleston doing my career that I love wholeheartedly, and not being able to afford to live the lifestyle I was “living” in.

But as the saying goes, it’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.

In February, my rocky relationship came to a traumatic end. I would be broken down in the worst way, and would have to find myself again.

In March, I decided to step out on faith with my goals and shifted my focus to The Conqueror Movement, which is my communications platform that serves as a connecting point for Black millennial creatives and professionals. With the help of my two best friends, we created “Falling In Love With Your Passion”. This event would host 50 people in one room, most of who I had never met before personally. The idea of this event was to encourage Black creators that what you do and what you’re passionate about, you must maintain a relationship with it. It must be something that you dedicate your time and energy to as if it were a one on one relationship. It would be the successful catalyst for a great year for my platform. My solid team would go on to create several events and opportunities throughout the year that would help these creators grow, learn and evolve, such as monthly brunch meetups, an annual celebration , of the company, and a documentary showing called “Find Your Light” . But not only did these projects help others, they allowed me to get back to myself and see what my true potential is.

I was pushed in ways I had never been pushed. Pushed to persevere. Pushed to trust the process. Pushed to trust others.

Now that I think of it, that would be the foundation of what I learned this year about myself and what I would learn I need to do for myself.

I learned that energy can be toxic if it’s wrong. Be protective of yours and don’t allow others to steal your joy.

My life experiences are constantly shaping me, and that’s important.

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If you cannot learn from what you do, what you see around you, and even the people you find yourself around, you are doing things wrong.

Looking ahead, I want to be more open about the things I have experienced so that those things can help others. I also want to be more real with myself about where I am, where I want to be, and just learning how to be more unapologetic.

In 2018, you will see a lot more from me, starting with this website.

Things have changed since I last debuted it on my birthday, May 30 of 2015. I have acquired my dream job, I have grown from a youngin’ to a young woman, and I am more confident in my abilities. You no longer need to see the labor of my work, you know what I’m capable of. The question now is: Who Is Khadijah?

You will find out alot more than you could imagine.

Going into the new year, I hope you will visualize your biggest fear and conquer it. I hope you won’t let it define you.

Stay tuned, friends.

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Because Life Is: Putting one foot in front of the other

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How do you handle hard situations without losing yourself in your problems? It’s always hard when you have an idea of where you feel your life is going, where your steps are taking you, and thinking that you have control of it all. But, I learned very quickly that I do not.

I never quite knew how to answer that question. And with being so young, there’s a lot more that I will experience in life that I won’t know how to handle. But, I’m learning the hard way that it’s all about embracing the journey. Embracing the hard steps, and never giving up on myself before I show that I have something to prove.

This month alone has really tested the way I see myself and how much I feel I’m personally capable of.

Being a creative, an entrepreneur and a journalist sound like they aren’t interchangeable or could mesh well together, but they find their ways. I could flourish in all aspects, dive head first into my works and not have a problem doing so many things at once from sun up to sun down. I’ve always been involved with so much, and I always feel the need to act on every idea that comes into my head (However, I have quickly learned that is a recipe for disaster!). But when do you make time for what’s happening personally? To deal with the personal emotions that make their way into your everyday life?

That is something I hadn’t quite figured out, just went with the flow. There’s nothing wrong with not having a strict plan, but there is a problem with ignoring the very things your mind needs to take care of.

As business creatives, we tend to develop this machine like mentality that we can push off things, conversations and conflicts and channel any negative energy into our works.

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Looking at this month alone, I have lost way more than I gained from not being real with myself.

It’s so easy to get caught up in answering “I’m fine” to every “How are you?” question. But what happens when you’re not and more things continue to happen?

There was a moment I had this month where things just kept happening. And it was never really anything that people have done towards me themselves, but it was mostly the act of knowing what I deserve and making some hard decisions. But I thought saying “I’m fine” would just alleviate the need to deal with those things head on. But you only do yourself a disservice when you don’t.

The same effort and energy you put into making sure a plan is carried out and it works in your career is the same effort, time and energy you need to put into your personal life.

Show people around you how much you really care. Have those hard conversations if it’s on your mind and you know you can’t be your best self until those feelings are expressed. Be intentional about the growth you want to make and get real. Because at the end of the day, you have one life to live and you don’t want to go through life feeling stagnant and in the same place years from now.

There’s nothing wrong with needing to deal with the hard stuff.

And when it’s all said and done, make sure you continue your walk and put one foot right in front of the other.

 

Because Life Is: About Celebrating your Victories

It’s been two years now since I launched my very own website, and two years since I vowed that I would use it as a way to create memories and projects that I can be proud of. Here we are at the top of 2017, almost done with month one! I feel like there is so much in store for the year, and even though the challenges are unforeseeable, I’m learning how to celebrate myself and things I do well, and appreciating the harder moments when things may not always go as planned.

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Last year, I couldn’t have imagined I would’ve accomplished as much as I did. As I discussed in my previous blog piece, “Because Life Is: About Being Humble”  there were many things I fought hard for that I didn’t know if I would ever achieve. Now, I’m embracing a more confident side of myself that knows I deserve those things…and will continue to strive for the very best.

A big part of that new found confidence is learning how to simply say “thank you” when someone notices your hard work. A big thing for me is that I could never bring myself to say those words. I always combatted them with a compliment to the other person, or shrugged it off as no big deal. But, in fact it is!

Learning how to recognize that hard work goes into everything I do is an inner fight, but it’s necessary. Because if I don’t recognize it, how can others who barely know who I  am do the same? Being your own worst critic is no excuse to shrug away every accomplishment as something you “just did for fun” or “because you had to”.

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So, I’ve begun to use thank you a little more. And I’ve begun to really meditate and focus on the things that I’ve done well that will hopefully push me to further excel and produce great works.

How do you get over humility versus self doubt?

  1. Write a list of the biggest things that you’ve done that either surprised you, or you feel you really did well and tried hard at this.
  2. Take a look at that list, post it if you need to! Then really pat yourself on the back, because those are things at some point in life you didn’t know how to do.
  3. When someone offers you a compliment, say thank you. Even if you don’t believe it at first, they do! Write it down, and post it on your wall, or someplace you can always see it. I guarantee you, the way you see yourself will begin to transform.

Serving yourself up compliments, or better yet acknowledgement, is not cocky. It is  necessary. How are we making sure that we continue to bring our very best to the table each and every single time? We can’t do that if we don’t learn to recognize our accomplishments for ourselves.

So, start celebrating those small victories!

 

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