You Gotta Get Up.

It’s hard to fight the funk.

Lately, I’ve been battling with thoughts of being in the way. Being in the way of my goals and milestones. Being in the way of others and their own progression at my expense. These past few months have been the most transformative as I’m preparing to step completely out of my comfort zone, and embark on a brand new beginning.With that, there’s been a lot of new changes in my life that have required a lot of community. I’m in one of the most vulnerable spaces I’ve been in for quite some time. It’s uncomfortable, as it should be. But it can also make you question a lot if you’re used to doing it all on your own.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. (4)

One of the best parts about these past few months is being able to step back into church and embracing my church family. In a recent sermon, the pastor made a remark about the acronym: “TIS” or “SIT”.

T – Thoughts

I – Influence

S- Suggestions

He says it’s easy to stumble when the Enemy tries to gain influence over you in the only way he knows how to – your mind. His impact can effect your thoughts, which then becomes an influence, and a suggestion for you to do something that you shouldn’t.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. (5)

When I think about this acronym, I think about the many ways I’ve allowed myself to feel small. It’s been xx months, and I still haven’t gotten this part of my life together, or I’m still struggling to find my footing in media, or I’m still attracting men who don’t value me the way I value them, or I’m feeling alone because my community is distant.

These thoughts are the catalyst for a downward spiral.

Me not having my life together must mean I’m not meant to have one.

Me not finding my footing in media must mean I won’t ever be seen in this industry.

Me attracting the wrong men must mean I’m not capable of ever finding love.

My loneliness must have a direct impact on who I am.

These thoughts all suggest one thing: quitting. Quitting on life. Quitting on trying. Quitting on loving. Quitting on existing. Quitting on your goals/hopes/dreams.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. (6)

I can’t say that I take pride on quitting anything, but it almost became an easy choice for me. Coming off of last year’s car accident, and the downward spiral of things that erupted from that, every day is a new journey and a process. We are no longer living in our past, but that doesn’t mean that more obstacles won’t stir up old feelings.

I’ve had to remind myself that God makes no mistakes. Only I do. And there’s a purpose behind that. DJ Khaled says: “failure is a major opportunity to learn something.” The mistakes you make teach you not to make those again. The mistakes you make show you that there is another way, another option to achieve what you want.  But you’ve got to be willing to take the risk. And no, it won’t feel easy. It won’t feel great. But it’s a powerful risk that leads to a powerful change.

It’s hard to fight the funk, but you gotta get UP.

A word that stuck with me from hearing P. Diddy speak at the REVOLT Summit is: “As long as you keep getting up, that’s going to inspire other people to keep getting up.”

Your responsibility is not always your own. But your dedication to self is. 

 

#WomenSupportingWomen

Women empowerment is not a cookie cutter phrase. It’s real work. It’s a celebration of who we are, what we accomplish, and overcome on a daily basis.

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I was reminded of all of that this past weekend after attending “Black Women United Day of Unity” in Atlanta, Georgia. Before attending the day’s festivities, I started incorporating the hashtag, #WomenSupportingWomen as a way to acknowledge the work women are doing in and around the Charleston, SC area in which I reside. I also make it a point to acknowledge those who may not be in close proximity as a show of solidarity and support.

It was only right that I was told about this incredible event from an equally incredible woman, who also happens to be my sorority sister: Davida Roach. Davida is the owner of Hair Bakery Boutique LLC, Dear Deanndra, and the creator behind her new blog, Davida’s Diary.  She is the epitome of a true girl boss. 

The event took place inside of the Georgia State Capitol. Upon walking in, we both couldn’t help but to really take everything in. The fact that we were attending this important event inside of an important space where laws are created and talked about, and important people dwell, to just seeing so many brown women in one space, in their best attire, ready to take in any messages received. I didn’t quite know what to expect, because I didn’t know that I would be there. But there was so much confirmation in the messages spoken.

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For starters, Glenda Williams of MEG Enterprises says ” I recognize what it took to protect yourself, especially as a Black woman.” It went hand in hand with universal messages of sisterhood, and caring for others , and being honest about your personal journey. She encouraged everyone in the room to “rise above hurt, understand healing, and what it takes to push beyond the odds.”

Imani Baskins, who moderated the event, made a powerful statement on vulnerability. She says,” Vulnerability is our super power. Sometimes, what looks like a flood is a cleansing.”

As a Black woman, I can honestly say that it is very hard to stand firm in being vulnerable. Simply because there is a lot to take on in my own day to day life that requires me to be strong, and to carry the weight of it all in order to simply survive. It’s HARD. But vulnerability is like a doorknob. You have the control over how much the door opens, and what you let in or out. The power is in the capacity in which you give. But you can’t afford to not give anything if it only holds you back. We can’t allow ourselves to give in to fear.

Renee Peoples, of The Peoples Network says, “You have to find that happy place within yourself that you can go to, that no one can tamper, despite all of the voices in your head.”  And on the same note of allowing ourselves the energy to be selfish with our emotions and protecting of that energy, Glenda Williams says, “As we grow and build, sometimes we leave ourselves out.”

In that moment – over a dozen women chose not to leave themselves out of healing. Everyone came for something. Whether it was shared with a fellow woman there, or kept quietly tucked away in their minds for them to hold, women were being fed what they needed to take home with them and really get things going.

I know because I was one of those women in the room. Taking notes. Physically and internally. Intently listening to what each woman on that panel had to say. The energy around me was filled to the brim with emotion. As a Black woman, I don’t often talk about my experiences with being a Black woman in this world. I don’t always get the chance to talk openly about my experiences and what they mean for me as I continue growing into womanhood. Being in a space where that didn’t really matter at all – but in fact was embraced, was just the medicine I needed to recover from past traumas of self-censoring for the appeasement of others.

I was embraced.

I was loved.

I was lovingly criticized.

I was seen.

And with this simple hashtag, I want women to feel the same. As I continue to do more with my own works, I hope that everything I do has an underlying foundation of women empowerment – and not just the sister circle of, “Yass Queen!” and “Black Girl Magic”, but real hard conversations, centering moments of clarity, and collaboration without competition.

What does supporting women look like for you?

 

 

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.

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.

 

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.

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!