Blast From the Past: August 21, 2015

– Of Life & Love –

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When I sat down to type this entry, I had every intention of it being a rant; in fact, it was…right before my computer randomly shut off without me saving a single word of it. So I’ll take that as my sign from God to use my gift of writing to do what I do best instead: inspire. Today, however, is going to be a different type of entry because instead of my writing to inspire everyone else, I am writing to inspire myself.

Guys, life is hard and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Life takes you down these unfamiliar twists and turns, all the while pulling out parts of yourself that you never knew existed before: some of which you like, others of which you hate. But the funny thing I am learning about life is that you have to see both of those sides to grow. I have been the most selfish, loving, incorrect, caring, vulnerable, confident, insecure person I have ever met in my life in these past eight months [living in Texas] and I can’t even sit here long enough to explain to you how or why that makes sense. But it does.

There are days when I am on cloud nine; proud of the steps I have taken and the places I have been. But then there are those days when I look and realize that I am losing sight of myself and those days are scary. Have you ever tried to remain the beacon of hope for all when you feel like there is no light left to shine?

The even harder part is that I am sharing this journey with someone; someone who has a journey of their own to fulfill outside of me being there. And it gets hard for both of us at times; trying to keep sight of our mission when our individual vulnerabilities cause us to slow each other down; when our own personal stresses hinder us from giving 100% of our emotion and time; when our roads briefly lead us away each other, but we have to remember to stand side by side.

It gets so easy to pull the “you don’t understand” card. We each have this voice in the back of our heads comparing the intensity of our struggles to one another as if struggle is broken down into categories. Whether he is fighting a battle in school or I am fighting a battle at my job, we are both doing just that: fighting. But when emotions are high, it is easy to see the one you love as an opponent rather than your teammate. And we say these things in the heat of the moment, things our consciences try desperately to keep us from saying. But it is too late. Our consciences are trapped behind a wall that our emotions have built around it.

However, the worst feeling of all is when our emotions are subdued; that wall breaks down and our consciences are left to clean up the remains of the battle. I think those thoughts hurt the most; the ones that assess the damage and try to see if they are repairable. The answer never seems to reveal itself….well immediately anyway.

Guys, love is only a fragment of the struggles I have embarked upon in life; the struggle of finding yourself trumps all. There is no greater challenge than weeding out the voices around you and trying to listen to the voice that God gave you before you knew anyone else. That remains my focus first and foremost. That is my priority and I will not change that.

So here I am, sitting at my computer at seven in the morning, unsure of my next move. Right now, I am acknowledging that the man I love and I are on different missions: mine more spiritual, his more carnal. The Bible tells me this will not last, for to be unequally yoked is to be destined for failure. But I see it this way:

If a beacon from a lighthouse chooses to beam its light inland before it leads the lost ship to shore, what purpose does it then have?  I mean, what good is it to hide that light, better yet, to chose where to shine it? I see him as the captain of that lost ship at sea, drifting further and further away…until he sees a light. The light he’s prayed for. The light that saves him. Come to think of it, the light I was starting to think didn’t mean anything. But he sees it and praises me for helping him find where he is meant to be. And that feeling is powerful. That feeling of purpose. You can’t shake it. It makes you keep going. It makes you keep pushing.

And now? He strives to shine with me. Soon, his lighthouse will be next to mine. Who knows, maybe it’ll stand even taller, I don’t know. But what I do know is that our lights will shine together, at least that is what I feel.

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My Positive Affirmation: I Am What I Am

How do I know I want to be a writer? Because this pen brings me comfort like no other.

Everything melts away and I become one with me, pouring out my thoughts the only way I successfully know how. These are my thoughts in the purest form; untainted and unedited.

All that I am is brilliance. I fit no mold because I have dared to create my own, as God has intended for me to do. No more will I follow. I will lead, all the while embracing all that I am and all that is in me to be. I am predestined to prevail; to live unashamed and unapologetic.

I am writing my story. Are you?

The Flight That Started It All

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Original post on my school blog inspirwritingblog.tumblr.com

I was going through my old photos and managed to find this picture. This is a picture I took one year ago from the plane as I flew out of Philadelphia International Airport and into my new life in Texas.

I remembered what this day represented. It was the day I decided to stop existing and start living. I had no idea what was for me in Texas. All I knew was that I had a boyfriend who had taken that leap of faith with me and was waiting for my plane to land so we could start a new chapter together and that was all I needed; I needed someone to be fearless with once God gave me that, I had no excuses.

On this day, I was calm. Though I had never flown a plane by myself before and though I was moving out on my own half a country, I felt as high as the clouds I would soon be flying above. I was choosing myself for the first time in my life and there was nothing about that to me that felt anything but tranquil.

Over a year later, I am happy to say that I am taking the next step in choosing myself by pursuing an online master’s degree in Creative Writing at Full Sail University. Already, in only the course of a month, my journey has become clearer due to my first class, Mastery – Personal Development & Leadership with Professor Elena Rogalle. The things that I have learned in this course have put into perspective for me who I want to be not only in my professional life, but my personal one as well.

If this past year has taught me anything, it is that choosing yourself and your growth is the only way that makes sense; more than money, more than friends, more than anything. Though I am only 24, I plan to continue using these years to be fearless and meet people who share that desire with me. My hope is for everyone to take that plane ride, whether physical or metaphorical, to becoming the person they want to be.

I hope you were able to get something out of this post. I wish you all the best and am excited to share more with you along my journey towards mastery.

Yours truly,

Mercedes Evans

Full Sail University!

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On July 6, 2015, I will be beginning my graduate education online via Full Sail University. This decision came after much deliberation but I am excited to say I am taking the next step in pursuing my passion for writing. I took some time out to write this blog and answer the questions I have been getting from friends and family alike so here goes:

What will I be studying?

  • I will be going for my MFA in Creative Writing with a focus in Entertainment.

More about this program:

  • It is an accelerated 1-year program
  • Some of my coursework will include Character Creation & Development, Episodic & Serial Writing, Film Screenwriting, Writing for Games, Storytelling & Storyboarding for Animation, Editing for Film, Game & Animation Scripts, etc.

What jobs can I go into?

  • Script Editor
  • Writer/Producer
  • Communications Specialist
  • Program Writer

Why online?

  • The main campus is in Florida
  • Online MFA comes equip with a MacBook Pro as well as al downloadable software needed to complete the coursework. I get to keep the computer upon completion of the program.
  • I have the freedom to complete coursework in a comfortable environment of my choice.

These are just a few questions I have been asked. If you have any more, feel free to ask! It gets pretty hard to keep everyone up to date individually so I am trying the best I can. Love you all!

10 Things That Are Likely to Happen Once You Go Natural (with pictures!)

1. You will feel like every other natural person’s hair looks better than yours.

You will see the most experienced natural-haired women AFTER you begin your journey. Before you go natural, you may see a few women with a fro here and there but after you go natural, you will see the women who look like they just stepped out of an issue of Essence magazine. Their curls are flawless, twist-outs epic and blowouts spectacular. This will discourage you quite a bit, especially if the women have longer hair. You may even want to rush the hair growth process so that you can find yourself on a level worthy to compete with them.

At that point, this will happen…

2. You will start looking into as many secrets to growing your hair as possible

Now this scenario is more accurate for the girls who either do the big chop or those who start their natural journey with the small fro. If you are one of these two girls, you will find yourself looking in the mirror every day and stretching out your curls, trying to map out if your hair has grown any longer since the night before. For the longest time, it will seem like it never does.

So this is typically when you go online and read forum after forum on women have used products, such as Hairfinity vitamins, to grow their hair faster. Now, depending on who you are, you will either try them or simply say “forget it.”

Either way, you will begin to explore additional options to achieve longer, (and more importantly) healthier hair. You will learn that your hair could also benefit from the use of more natural product. At this point, you will move on to the next step in your natural journey…

3. You will be an advocate for using only natural/organic products in your hair…for about 6 months

The first few months of being natural are liberating. This is normally when you will begin to see the benefits of letting your hair off of its chemical leash: it is softer, it grows faster, it is thicker, etc. With this comes the inevitable feeling that because of this, you need to treat it like your baby. After all, this is fresh start. You begin to nurture it with organic coconut washes, shop for products free of petroleum or alcohol, complete hot oil treatments regularly. You may even experiment with homemade conditioners made out of things like eggs, avocado or mayonnaise.

However, with your natural hair journey will come growth. After all, it is what you always prayed for. However, something unexpected will begin to happen: your hair will not respond the same to the methods you’ve been using and you will soon find yourself trying to find anything to make it manageable.

You will start caring less and less about whether or not there is petroleum in your products and more and more about what products will allow you to comb my hair. This leads into the next fact…

4. You will become a hair product hopper

Now, there is nothing wrong with this. Embracing your natural hair calls for quite a bit of trial and error. After all, you are becoming reacquainted with a part of yourself that you never really had to deal with before. You do not know what will work and what will not. It could take a while to find a product that works with your hair.

This can be a grueling process but you may be lucky enough to a few products that work miracles for you  and eventually, something mesmerizing will happen: your hair will begin to grow.

And once this happens…

5. You will jump for joy when you can make your hair into a small afro puff.

Nothing is more exciting than the day you realize your small fro can now fit into a ponytail holder. It will put behind you any fear you had of your hair not growing and give you an appreciation for the little things (pun intended). If this stage does not happened to you, just give it time and you will see what I mean.

Once this happens, you will be more determined than ever to find new hairstyles to support your growth you will go online with some much hope.

Until this happens…

6. You will go to YouTube for styling advice only to find tutorials from girls with obnoxiously gorgeous hair.

This is perhaps the most annoying fact of all. In my experience, some the most successful video channels on YouTube are created by girls who have no idea what the 4c curl struggle is like (here is a good guide to finding your curl pattern http://naturallydivinebeauty.com/hair-types/curl-pattern-id/). They are the ones whose edges only require a dab of gel to stay down or the ones whose hair actually grows downward instead of up and out. However, all is not lost.

Hopefully, you will search through enough hair videos to find someone with your pattern; they are out there you just have to know where to go. If you are persistent enough, you will eventually find the perfect tutorial to follow. The hairstyle in the video will be everything you could have ever wanted and you will make it your business to follow it to the letter.

And then, this will happen…

7. Your hair will not look the same way it did in the tutorial.

Now, you will critique every step you did and wonder where it all went wrong. If you are dedicated enough, you may even wait it out and try the tutorial again. If this is you, I wish you much success and pray to the natural hair gods that you figure it out.

However, if you are anything like me, then you will easily agree with this next step

8. Beanies and decorative scarves become your best friend.

When all else has failed, you will inevitably have a day when you are fed up with your hair not cooperating and you will throw in the towel. And, also inevitably, if bad hair days are not your thing, you will invest in a beanie or a scarf. You may even find some decorative ones that go with your outfit, invest in a few different pair of earrings to dress the look up a bit; anything to make the chaos look intentional.

And this will be your look…

…that is until your hair decides it is ready to outgrow every beanie you own. Your hair will pull out a page out of the book of life and force you to deal with it.

Once your made the decision to move on from beanies, you will learn this:

9. Hair maintenance will become your part-time job

Be prepared to invest many precious hours a week to hair maintenance. This includes washing, conditioning, styling, detangling, you name it. Whatever the process, IT WILL TAKE A WHILE! Wash and go’s will work towards the beginning of your journey however, the longer your hair gets the longer it’ll take to manage. It will be frustrated and annoying ESPECIALLY detangling. There are days when I have literally had to make time in my schedule simply to detangle my hair.

With all the struggle, there will almost seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. That is until you discover…
10. Most of your experimental hairstyles will come out better than your intentional ones.

Many of the days that my hair has come out looking amazing had to do solely with experimentation. This will give you hope and inevitably inspire you to find what works for your hair. The internet can be helpful but it can be very daunting to beginners of the natural hair journey.

Embracing my natural hair has been the most exciting, challenging, confidence-building experience of my life and I am only 4 years into it. There are many things I am still learning but it is excited because it is new.

To those well into the natural hair journey and for those just beginning, embrace this challenge! I promise you it is worth it. Even if you have started multiple times and could not do it, I urge you to keep trying!

Other things that are likely to happen when you go natural:

  • You find yourself looking at a ton of natural hair pics during this journey so prepare to go berserk liking pages on Facebook dedicated to natural hair.
  • You will often contemplate throwing in the towel: It is very likely your hair will not grow how you want it to but don’t give up! I assure you it will grow on you…literally lol
  • You will have at least one friend who makes going natural look easy: This is the friend whose hair is always on point.
  • PEOPLE WILL STARE! Especially those who have witnessed your transition.
  • You will encounter people who are overly fascinated and will want to touch it.
  • It will be the most challenging yet rewarding decision of your life.

FROS

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TWIST-OUTS

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OTHERS

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Live According to You

I’ve hit many standstills on my path to finding myself. Many of them came from me comparing my life to others and thinking that the things that worked for other people would work for me. It took this past year for me to realize how illogical that was.

There is something that I have had on my heart to address not only for myself but for those who look at  my life

Many who know me know the hesitations I had with moving out on my own and it had nothing to do with fear: it had to do with the belief that had been instilled in me that you should not live with someone who is not your husband. I hit so many walls because, in my heart, I did not feel marriage was my next step however, moving was. After all, I was just newly a girlfriend and the thought of instantly skipping that and transitioning to wife did not seem logical especially considering I did not even know who I was yet. I had people tell me that that did not matter; all that mattered to God was that I was married and all those other things would sort themselves out.

So I prayed to God nonstop, asking Him to help me sort out my confusion; after all, He made me. I had pictured in my mind having a rushed wedding so that I was favored and every time I thought it, it did not feel right. This was weird to me considering clearly I love my boyfriend with all my heart but my gut would not let me accept the thought.

I have learned now that what was happening in that moment was my true self fighting against who I was taught I had to be. My true self is an explorer that takes chances all the while seeking growth and change. I gravitate towards the things that give me the opportunity to learn and help others and moving out was that opportunity for me. Yet here I was being told that before I explore, I had to do something that went against my current nature and that bothered me.

Who I am being is not denouncing God’s words or saying that I do not believe in them. In fact, my relationship with him now is stronger than ever. But what I do know is that there are just certain situations that present themselves in a person’s life where you have to prove your faith in God by just leaving, even if all the roads are not paved. You just have to take the leap and know that they will be and that is what I did because that is life.

And we will get married. I do not know when but I know that that is in God’s plans for us. And at our wedding, our families will come together and celebrate with us our triumphs and revelations in our journey through life and we will reflect on these times as necessary for leading us where we are. I am confident of that.

So my words of advice are this: there is nothing wrong with following in someone else’s footprints as long as at some point you stop and start some footprints of your own. I am not advising anyone who may have this same dilemma to go ahead and move in with their boyfriend/girlfriend because my path is not everyone’s path and we are not all meant to be prototypes of one another. Our footprints should be as unique as our fingerprints: no one’s should be the same. We are all individuals. Many of the things that work for other people will not work for you and if you have people telling you otherwise, they are wrong because that is how how humanity was designed to exist.

So in conclusion, in this past year I’ve found that the key to finding yourself oftentimes includes being alone with yourself. Who would you be if the very people who helped shape you as a person were not around? What if no one was guiding you towards the life they felt you should live? Who would you be? We live in a society where there are thousands of singers, writers, musicians, doctors, lawyers, etc and in the midst of it all, we are plagued with the task of not only choosing from those professions but also to make ourselves stand out within and it is daunting. However, you HAVE to find yourself within it all, even if it means going against the mold and forming your own. You owe that to yourself.

 

New Apartment!

After days of trying to send pictures one by one to family and friends of the new apartment, it dawned on me that it would be a lot easier to simply post some pics here;1) because most you guys keep up with me on here anyway and 2) well, that’s kinda one reason I created this blog in the first place. So, for those who may not know, on January 15th, Shamus and I officially moved into our new apartment! It is a 1,224 square foot 2 bedroom 2 bath that we will be sharing with friends. I have included the pictures of the basic rooms as well as the layout since I did not included pictures of the rooms. So anywho, here you guys are! Chapter 2 of living in Texas has officially begun!

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Operation: Texas!

Ok, so an explanation (and a blog entry!) is long overdue! So let’s get right to it: I am moving to Texas next week! Contrary to what I may have led some people to believe with my abrupt Facebook post, this was not at all a rushed decision. Towards the beginning of this year, my boyfriend and I realized we share a common issue: here we are, young adults with degrees, who have been unable to find jobs that make us feel like our expenses in higher education were worth it. So we began to look for a place that had 1) a lower unemployment rate (because the ones in New York and New Jersey are disheartening) 2) a place that had a lower cost of living and 3) a place that had a creative atmosphere. Texas came up as being a place that offered all those things.  So we began to apply for jobs just to test the odds. Within a month and a half, we began to hear back from jobs. So the prospects already seem a bit more promising. Enough for both of us to want to see where it leads. And that’s basically it.

It seems so strange that the explanation is so simple yet I have taken so long to write this entry. To be honest, I had a few different drafts of what it would sound like. It wasn’t until one of my drafts hit the three-page mark that I realized I was no longer just telling my story, I was trying to get the people that may think I am insane to understand me; to somehow tell me what I was doing was right. I was trying to plead with those who think I am “living in sin” for living with my boyfriend outside of marriage; I was trying to get people who know nothing about me aside from my relatives to not think I was setting myself up for failure; I was writing as if I was on trial. My writing was less of an oration and more of a plea for approval. A lot of things are not set in stone but I can’t shake this feeling that though that may be the case, I NEED to do this.

For too long I have sat back and tried to plan every detail of things and never have any of those plans held up with the test of time. So I am just doing it. I said goodbye to fear a while ago and I will continue to do whatever it is in my power to make sure it stays buried. For the first time in my life, I am embracing not knowing. I am letting go of trying to get people to understand me and putting into practice the faith I was taught to have for all these years.

So my final words are this: I am walking by faith and not by sight. I do not have to see my home yet to know that I will have one. I do not need to see my great paying job to know I will have one because the Lord promised me that if I delight myself in him, he will give me the desires of my heart and this move is my proof of my love and trust in him. And even if I have to struggle for a bit then I fully embrace it because it is a part of my journey and my growth. If you want something, you have to be willing to go out and seek it even if the end is not in sight. So stay tuned!

My Struggle with Depression

Today is the day I reveal something that very few people know about me: for years, I have struggled with low self-esteem and depression. It started in middle school and hit it’s peak in high school and only within the past few years has drifted away.

So I guess I’ll start from the beginning.

The Beginning (2002-2005)

When I was around 11 or 12, the world I knew as a child had drifted away and I was introduced to a world that made mine seem more like a fantasy. Prior to those years, everything was carefree. I had not been exposed to things such as race, body image, sex appeal or “fitting in”. I just lived in a place where you were just accepted even if you were different and you did not have to match any particular criteria to get along with everyone. That was my life in Oklahoma. However, when I moved back to my parent’s hometown in New Jersey, I was exposed to a world I was not prepared for. Here, most girls my age were already talking about sex and what boys they liked or were focused entirely on what clothes would show off their bodies.

Diversity was also almost nonexistent here. My home in Oklahoma in comparison to my new surroundings in New Jersey were like night and day. The place I’d grown up was predominantly white, and here it was predominantly black so needless to say the culture was different. In middle school, when a white kid joined the class, it was like almost like a shock. Everything had become about color and it was here I was told for the first time that I “spoke like a white girl. It took me a while to figure out what that even meant.

It seemed everything was odd about me here. Though I was only in 6th grade, many of the girls had developed physically while I was the odd girl out with my thin frame, gapped teeth and unusual height. I lost count of how many times “wow you’re so skinny” or “you need to eat more” were said to me. I began to focus on my body image more than ever and it didn’t take long before I did not like what I saw anymore. The seed had been planted.

Over the years leading up until high school, my family became fairly religious. As a practice, I began to wear skirts exclusively which didn’t help with my feelings about not fitting in. I only continued to further isolate myself.

My thoughts were confined to my journals and the only way I knew to deal with my issues was to pretend I didn’t have them. I took to sarcasm pretty quickly. When people would joke about how skinny I was or something, I would join in. I figured if I laughed at myself, people wouldn’t catch on to how insecure I was. That was what made sense to me. People liked when I was happy and funny so that’s the persona I took on.

Middle school got better when I gained a few close friends (whom I still have to this day). The three I hung out with the most were my close friends Christiana, Jasmine and Ian. They distracted me away from my insecurities and had never made it a habit to bring up anything about me physically. They simply liked me for me and I didn’t have to pretend with them.

High School & Depression (2005-2009)

When high school rolled around, I had decided to pursue an education at a vocational school rather than the regular high school because it would open up more opportunities for me academically. I acknowledged this meant leaving the people that had helped me cope but I figured I was ready for it. I didn’t realize how wrong I was.

My high school years were the most emotional for me. Aside from being away from my friends and my continuing struggle to accept myself, my parent’s relationship was in flux which left me feeling a lot of different things. I was both learning and witnessing things that were altering everything I had ever thought and I just remember feeling like the world was not a promising place anymore. Also, a guy I had liked and trusted had let me down and I found myself shutting down more and more and, worst of all, pretending even more. It wasn’t long before my insecurities transformed into a full on depression.

Once depression set in, everything made me upset. My low self-esteem had now turned into just pure hatred with myself. I became frustrated with the fact that I could not gain weight and even began overeating in an effort to slow down my metabolism. But all that did was make me feel more miserable and made me break out. I stopped watching TV because I was frustrated with seeing girls with big breasts and curves and I figured if I made myself oblivious to the world, I’d feel better about myself. I was not satisfied with anything about myself. My hair wasn’t long enough, my gap was too wide, my head was too big or my eyes seemed too far apart. Any critique I could think of was a valid one to me. I critiqued every inch of my body and there was nothing I liked about it. I started to hate taking pictures because anytime I saw myself, I was just disgusted.

I would smile and laugh with everyone throughout the day but get home, close the door and just hate everything about my life. Everything mentally was caving in and pretty soon, I was having issues trusting anyone. I convinced myself that I didn’t need anyone to help me and that I had the answers to my problems, I just had to figure them out. I wanted to fix myself by myself because I just knew people would find a way to let me down.

The was one of my online journal entries from November 3rd, 2008:

selfesteemIn my mind, this was just a phase I was going through. It would pass and I would look back and realize how disillusioned I was. I even justified my feelings about myself as “normal”. I used my gift of words to make it sound like everything in my life was fine and I even mastered talking about any and everything enthusiastically but my problems. I even mastered giving advice to help them with their problems as if I were in any place to do so. I had succeeded in tricking the people around me into thinking I was fine and that I had it all together while behind closed doors, I was simply not happy with much of anything. I was miserable.

The one thing that gave me a sliver of hope was college. I liked the idea of having a fresh starts and leaving all the negativity behind. I figured if I changed my surroundings, I would be better. I started to believe that the way I thought was not my fault and instead placed the blame on the people around me. So when college started, I just knew I would be better. However, it did not happen as quickly as I’d hoped.

College Years (2009-2011)

About a week into college, my enthusiasm about starting this new life was wearing off and I was beginning to feel more alone than ever. I started to realize a lot of what was wrong with me was not so much everyone else’s fault as much as my own. Though I was essentially beginning this new chapter, I was finding it hard to close the previous one and I was still finding it hard to accept who I was. I was this girl who preferred not to party or drink in a place where this was the norm and I found myself unsure of what to do socially. I debated giving in and just doing what everyone else did. Being different wasn’t giving me any answers and I hated feeling the way I did. After a while of listening to the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, I decided to just go back to my roots and joined the Highest Praise Gospel Choir on campus.

Here, my transformation began. For so long, I had convinced myself that I needed to be away from people in order to help myself but here, I learned the opposite. I met people who understood me and assured me that I was this smart, beautiful and just all around wonderful person. While at first, I dismissed their thoughts, with time I accepted them as fact. I met people who actually wanted to hang out with me. I met people who understood how important my spirit was to me and people who nurtured that and made sure I stayed true to it. College soon became the best two years of my life because of them.

I began to fast and pray more than ever, listen to motivational music, read self-help books and bury myself in the bible because that was what I knew helped. I was finally beginning to accept myself and not allow the negative thoughts to take over.

Don’t get me wrong, I was not instantly cured. In fact, I still had phases where the feeling of inadequacy crept in. It was like I would go for quite some time feeling really good about myself and then, something would instantly click in my mind like “what are you doing? You’re not supposed to feel this happy,” and just like that I would listen give in. I even got into the habit of going home most weekends in college because sometimes, I just did not want to be around people. I let the thoughts get to me and went right back into isolating myself because that’s what I was accustomed to. However, it eventually becoming easier and easier to quiet those thoughts and emotions and I found that some weekends I really wanted to stay and hang out with everyone. I had finally found the acceptance that I had been looking for all those years.

And now?

Now, I can say I am in the happiest place I have ever been in my life and it is for a number of reasons. For one, those friends that I met all those years ago (both in middle school and college) are still in my lives and are proving to me that just because certain people let you down does not mean everyone will. Not to mention I have a great family that has instilled in me the values that I have now that have allowed me to be at this stage. Though I didn’t see it then, all those bible studies and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday church services did plant a seed in me. Another reason is this blog. This blog has helped me open up in a way that I never have before because I remember how keeping things inside tortured me for way too long and part of moving on from that is opening myself up to the world and letting you guys know that life is a journey that is best traveled with others. Lastly, I do have to acknowledge someone who has been my personal angel for the past seven months and that is my boyfriend, Shamus O’Connor. He has succeeded in making me feel more beautiful and special than I ever have. And even though my insecurities creep up every now and then and he has to give me a pep talk by telling me how crazy I am to think I’m anything less than amazing, he deals with it all and for that I am forever indebted. I have no problem telling the world how amazing you are Shamus because you deserve it entirely. <3

Again, I do still have my moments. There are times I turn on the TV or see a magazine and some of the old thoughts creep back up but I can proudly say they do not last very long. The bulk of what I feel is frustration for girls who are growing up seeing things like that because I know what they did to me. Just this past summer even I noticed myself questioning myself all over again and I had to shut it down with the quickness because I refuse to be that person again. Now, my main concerns are the typical figuring out what I want to do with my life and moving forward.

I am just excited about life and everything it has to offer me and quite frankly, I am now happy about everything! I try not to embrace negativity because I remember what that was like and I can never do that to myself again. I even try everything in my power to make others happy.

Sooooooo my entire purpose for this entry is to say this: do not neglect the importance of having good people in your life. Life is not meant to be lived alone and it took me almost a decade of struggling to acknowledge this. God places people into your life for a reason and, quite frankly, some of those people are meant to hurt you. But that does not mean that everyone around you is a bad person. It just happens so that you can grow from it and not take for granted the good people that will be placed in your life later on.

And also, depression is not just a thing that happens to certain people. In fact, some people may be going though it right now and you may not even know it. Denial is not an uncommon thing with depression. It took me a while to even admit that was what I was going through. As I said, I wrote it off as a phase. And also low self-esteem is not to be overlooked either. I mean honestly, it sucks and can be destructive mentally, spiritually and physically.

So thank you to everyone who took the time out to read this entry. Continue to read and share and most importantly, love everyone! No matter who it is or what you think of them. I am living proof that you never know what someone is going through.

Create Your Truth (2011)

The Truth

Written July 1, 2011

The truth has been kidnapped

Abused and transformed

It is drifting in chaos

Lost in a whirlwind of human error

Of human arrogance

For him…

Truth is trampled beneath a muddy sneaker

Which trudges through the streets of a ghetto

Unaware

Not knowing that the foot within it

Could belong to greatness

But if only he knew

All he sees is a false reality

A life filtered by a project window

Teaching him that a hand grips a gun

Much better than a book

Suffocating bars become his future

They choke his dreams and leave them

Beaten in an alley way

His truth is trapped

For her…

Truth is manipulated

Lost inside the mind of an ignorant girl

One who thinks opening her legs will set it free

But it is smothered

Being crippled by a host of men

One of whom injects her with his venom

Bringing life to her equally as ignorant,

Soon-to-be fatherless, child

Oh, if only she knew

That between her thighs

Once lived a prize

But she was so lost

Attacked by the reality she created

Her truth is mutilated

Left pleading for life on a lonely sidewalk

Her truth is helpless

And for us…

Truth is incarcerated

Watching helplessly as media frames it

As hip hop disguises it

As history ignores it

As people neglect it

Truth is pleading

Praying that the few who know it

Tell its story

And set it free

The truth is out there

Search for it diligently

For it is hidden from plain sight

Those who find it

Happily reap its reward

So search for it

For the sake of yourself

Search for it…

I wrote this poem years ago during a time in which I was seeing a lot of sadness in the world. I was going into my final semester of college and the bulk of my studies required me to take a look at the world around me and observe the people in it. Subsequently, I began to observe what was portrayed as reality within the environment I lived. I was seeing a lot of single mothers and a lot of nonchalant fathers and, sadly, this was the societal norm. In fact, it was accepted. At a certain point, hearing one of your former classmates was pregnant became less and less of a shock. Hence the characters within my poem.

You are the truth you choose to believe. No one can tell you what is true about yourself or how you should live. You create what is true to you, not anyone else. But sadly, there are people who choose to believe something that is true to others but that is not true to themselves, much like the characters in my poem. If you become complacent enough to accept a place’s societal norm as a standard of living, then you have already failed. For a long time, I was miserable. I was living in a place where I did not feel I belonged and it was a constant internal battle to figure out where I fit. It wasn’t until college when I was exposed to people from different societies and cultures whom I identified with that I realized I was not meant to fit where I was. I was meant to be one of the ones who stood out. I was meant to be an example.

So here’s what else I realized. You are one of 7 billion and the fact of the matter is that you are not meant to be like somebody else. You may find people who share the same ideals or qualities as you but that does not mean that you are 100% like that person or that what works for them will work for you.

People go searching far and wide for the truth, thinking that it is hidden in pages or documentaries or theories and, to an extent, it is. Something in either one of those things may reveal something to you never thought about before and shape how you see things. But the fact of the matter is, the bulk of what is true is inside of you.

People search for true religion, or the true way to live or (the ever so popular) true meaning of life. Well the answer is: you have to create it based on what you know about yourself and what does not compromise you as an individual. Some people may not understand it but not all are meant to.

Be who you are and be unashamed. Be different. Be unique. Be anything! As long as it is you and no one else.