When it comes to my aesthetic, it is often described as simple yet impactful. I pride myself on my ability to take very simple pieces and build something unassumingly fly. This outfit is a prime example of that. (more…)
A few weeks ago I took what I consider my first “adult” vacation. I ventured to Martha’s Vineyard with a group of close friends and it was a week of nothing but love, laughter and realizations. One of those realizations came late after dinner one night. We were all huddled in a room and naturally the topic of relationships/dating came up as it does amongst 20-somethings. At this point in the trip I hadn’t shared much about my dating life because, as far as I’m concerned, nothing is happening in that area – I’m talking desert dry, tumbleweed included – so there was nothing to report. Regardless, I found myself opening up about my more recent forays into the world of dating, which have left a lot to be desired and have had me believing I’ve been doing something wrong.
I’m in a slump and I haven’t wanted to admit it out loud. The past couple of weeks I have been feeling incredibly “off”. Things are shifting and I’m trying to find my place, my solid ground, my launching pad to keep growing. I’m in this space of feeling like I’m continuously falling short in multiple areas of my life. I’m trying so hard to reach this abstract place of being on and poppin’ 24/7/365 in my professional and personal life, although I don’t know that that’s humanly possible. In short, I’m feeling defeated and that I’m not good enough, which is tough to admit.
I know in my heart of hearts that I am good enough. I know this won’t last and the space I’m in is temporary. God designed me with the mind and heart to win and I will. Life exists in a series of peaks and valleys and I’m in the midst of a valley right now. I’m only truly defeated if I stay here. And I won’t.
I already feel better by being able to get those thoughts out of my head and “talking” it out. Clearing the bad thoughts to make room for the good ones.
“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”
Back in October a video was circulating around Facebook called “I’m Not That Girl – For Every Woman Who Has Never Felt Like ‘That Girl’.” (Source: Buzzfeed). As the (admittedly long) title reveals, this video is a spoken word ode to the girls who aren’t, never have been and probably never will be “that girl.” If you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest you watch it right now, just promise you won’t get sucked into the Buzzfeed blackhole and come back to finish reading this post.
Albeit embarrassing…halfway through this video I started balling. (more…)
No not the Eminem song. I’ve literally been cleaning out my closet for the past few months but not the “Oh I can part with this shirt from the 7th grade” type of cleaning. I mean a deep purge. I know cleaning out one’s closet seems like a pretty normal (albeit tedious) task but this time around it’s carrying a much deeper and symbolic meaning for me. I’m getting rid of the faux-me. The pieces that went into the me I thought I “had to be” or was “supposed to be” are currently sitting in a partially ripped DSW paper bag.
To look at my closet pre-purge, I would see elements of other people and what I thought I had to be for them. There were the dainty sundresses and pearl necklaces to appear soft, feminine and perfectly Southern. Or the club heels and bandage skirts I’d wear to parties and feel slightly uncomfortable in, knowing good and well I hate clubs/club attire/all things club-ish. (Seriously though, what’s the appeal? There’s nowhere to sit, heels hurt, drinks are overpriced, guys are annoying, and IT’S HOT! But I digress.). All of this for the sake of fitting in.
I feel like I always knew who I truly was or wanted to be. I saw glimpses of her in high-school when I wore mismatched neon knee-highs or my red patent leather wedges. I saw her in the silhouettes and colors I was drawn to but deemed “unfeminine” or “too hard”. Over the years she got drowned out by the self-imposed pressures to present myself a certain way in order to project a certain image. More importantly, I’ve realized I was doing these things for others more than for myself. Beyond clothing, this desire led me to hide away or subdue parts of my personality. I’d try to be super bubbly to dull my natural sarcasm or attempt to be more flirtatious (and Lord knows I can NOT flirt) and not display my full intelligence, as to not be too intimidating. I would hold back from sharing my honest thoughts and opinions. I did all of this because I wanted the mark of approval of others. So, little by little, I’d don the items and tuck away pieces to gain whoever’s approval I was seeking at the time. Yet once I was alone, I’d feel a little off, empty, and wishing I’d had the guts to do or say what I really felt but didn’t because of fear of disapproval.
Now I am cutting myself some slack because the journey to finding, knowing and confidently rocking your real self takes time and well…confidence, which I was severely lacking for quite some time. Of course when you’re younger and trying to fit in, you’ll wear a plaid skirt and polo with Birkenstocks like everyone else in the 7th grade because you really did think it was cool. However, once I had the moment of enlightenment (almost a decade later), I realized I owed it to myself to focus more on finding the real me and worry less about everyone else. So now, I’m buying what I’m drawn to and trying new things out. I’m speaking up more and sharing my thoughts, even if it goes against everyone else (this still makes me uncomfortable at times). I’m allowing myself to exist in a way that makes ME feel great and doing so with increasing confidence. Like most things, this is still a work in progress because confidence takes time to build up but I like to think I’ve been getting pretty comfortable as my real self. It’s nice to finally meet her.
I think this is attempt number five for me to start my own blog? Pretty sure I average a blog launch per year since 2010. You’d think I’d just stop at this point but I don’t. Each time I evolve I get this inescapable thought, a feeling I can’t shake – to start blogging again.
Why do I always stop? Honestly? Laziness. Something’s missing. Commitment is scary. I’m afraid to ask for help. Comparison. The list goes on.
Why again, why now? Well, I’ve finally admitted to myself what it is: Sharing of myself. That is the “something’s missing” I mentioned earlier. Nowadays everyone and their mother is a style blogger – aspiring or otherwise (no shade because this will still be part style blog). I wanted a point of differentiation. An edge. A hole I could help fill. That point is me. My story. My experiences. My life + style. It goes deeper than that though. While my stories are in fact mine, they’re not some unicorn-like algorithm. I share a common thread with so many other young women like me: The Black Female Millennial.
Now this is going to be a challenge for me because I have a HUGE issue with vulnerability – which we’ll explore later because it seems to be an epidemic. I literally and figuratively run – or briskly walk while looking over my shoulder – the other way, but it’s something I’m working on. My style blogs of the past have always been a form of “comfortable transparency” (I just made that up, don’t Google it). Letting people see just enough of me but not too much. That and being brought up under the “don’t share too much” household, as I’m sure many of you were. This equalled me not wanting to speak up and share anything of myself (again, another blog post).
Just as the saying “with age comes wisdom”, similarly, with growth comes change.
I talk to a fair amount of female friends, acquaintances, strangers in line at Starbucks and one thing that always comes up is that this post-grad journey has been hard. You’re probably like, “well duh.” BUT in this social media age, it’s easy for people to feel like they don’t “fit” or have it “right”. It’s easy to look like you’re living the champagne life. All the while you (and quite possibly them too) are at home paying student loans and savoring the pint of Talenti you bought with the left over grocery money. Another scenario: You’re not where you think you should be when it looks like everyone is becoming an overnight success. The thing is, few share it actually took them 10+ years and a lot of opposition to get there. Very few document and reveal their stories; you get the truncated version after it’s all said and done. So that’s what I’m here to do. Document the process. Now style is still a very big part of who I am so, as I mentioned earlier, that will be incorporated, but this is also, what I hope will be, a space of comfort, connection and inspiration for myself and you.