I excitedly refresh my screen to see my grades for the semester in our dim office. A satisfied smile creeps onto my lips as the screen shows my transcript grades. Halleluiah! I am officially done with my first year of grad school and chile' let me tell you... I am so proud of myself! I know they say GPA doesn't matter, but ya girl got three A's this past semester. That is something undergrad me didn't do until senior year.
A big part of it is that I love my program. I love that I get to nerd out and learn some things that I never thought I'd want to know like UX and UI. A part of me sometimes questions if I've moved on from the artist phase in my life, but actually I've been able to be more in tune now with my creative side. Moving into my other loves of videography and photography. I also am enjoying the process of writing just for me. Since I'm not JUST in a library school, I attend a Information Science program that means that I can learn things other than library information. I can also tickle the foot of my coding digital side.
I decided that I want to take my time and do my full two years of Grad school. This means that this time next year I'll be a graduate! But before I celebrate. One step at a time. For now I am going to relish in this moment. I don't know if you still read this, whoever you are. But here's the update.
Originally this blog was to record all of my amazing travels around the world, but to be perfectly honest I haven't set foot out of country since it started. (sobs uncontrollably) HOWEVER, I have gone to quite a few places.
Places I've been since 2012
Greensboro, North Carolina
Kansas City, KS
Little Rock, AR
San Antonio, TX
Sioux City, IA
New York, NY
I'm sure I'm forgetting some places, but you get it. This year I'm committing to stepping out of my comfort zone. So even if it's just a few hours away I'll find my way there. Seeing the world means even visiting places I can drive to. I go with a budget and the most affordable way to get around as much as possible. It's been fun. (local travel) But I'm renewing my passport. (Seriously)
I'm blessed to have made it this far. (like fooooooreal and I'm not gonna cry, nope). If you've been reading me since the beginning or just tuning in now welcome.
*Update on slam: We lost. I took it harder than normal. (Maybe because it's my last year) I feel like God was like... Take the whole slam away. This was the last Nationals for AWHILE. (Not just for me, but for everyone) Yea, my God be petty like that. (I love you JC!) So yea, only regional slams for me. Laters!
Today I got a raise/ and a 10 day eviction notice in the same day/ I pull the cry out from my throat/ hold this pulsing thing/ Know that prison can look like rented rooms/ And sentences are denied apartment applications/ That records are credit scores that never report the facts/ Degrees rags that don’t soak up your moms incarceration/ Or times ya’ll spent in the projects/ Or the one room ya’ll lived in eating pork n beans/ Me being the first one to graduate from high school and college/ Don’t mean nothing to the nice rental office cause your past is numbers/ That don’t add up/ My mother’s sacrifices can’t only be worth denials/ There are times when the hood and educated revolt in my blood/ Are two forces that don't like to exist in the same body/ Discord that chokes/ Reminds me that I know what being locked in feels like/ How the doors clang shut on your hopes/ Success feels like forgetting where you come from/ Like burying my mother instead of honoring her memory/ But when the time comes and the hood is just a part of town you pass through cause it cost more to stay than leave/ It stays in the vessel of you/ Will be found in the lessons you teach your future children/ In the way you run your household/ In the stories you pass to strangers that become family/ God will use the educated hood of you to light the world/ Raising you to new heights/ Evicting you from that old way of life/ Accepting all the parts of your being/ From sacrifice to freedom/ Causing hands to raise/ And voice to praise/ Ain't it glorious to not be prisoner to money
I am queen of changing my style through a cycle. Afro-classy bohemian rebel. Yea, I'm not too good with labels so I just slap em' all on and that's what you get. Yeeeep, get comfortable. This is about branding ya'll
Whether we like it or not, we're a brand. People associate us to something when they think of us. My momma told me a long time ago, "People are always watching you." If you are a person of color, you know what I mean. She scared me out of wearing pajamas to the grocery store or anywhere outside the comfort of my own home "just in case" someone was watching. And they were. I have a hard time traveling and looking too comfortable cause the one time I wore sweats I met a connect who knew Debbie Allen and I needed a internship. (Needless to say I didn't get it) Whether it's the church lady making sure you're covered up, the couple that cross the street as you walk past, or the person locking the car as you walk by. Okay so this doesn't have to be negative. It could be the promoter that takes a chance on you, the fellow artist that helps mentor you, or the foundation that wants to fund your next project. (I speak this last one into existence) We are the products for "sale". It shouldn't matter what people think, but what you think. Are you portraying the brand you want to be?
Looking at any business or job interactions this is definitely true. I'm not telling ya'll anything new though. We live in a world of influencers and people constantly wanting to sell you something. I'm just saying I change my brand constantly and whether I like it or not. It's me. Lately, I've been loving the brand I've created from that fresh out of college girl who had no clue what God what about to do to now being a confident... everything I am now.
Alright so this leads to this new project I've started. I'm going to vlog my summer and below is where you find out why.
I have been floored by God. If you had told me back in October that I would be where I am right now I probably would've chuckled and said, "Yeah right." I'm sitting here trying to figure out what I want to tell ya'll first? *jeopardy music* How personal do I want to get?
Last year around this time I believe I was starting to seriously talk with (not quite date) this amazing believer who completely transformed how I view relationships. He was my boyfriend for all of two minutes (more like two weeks officially or something) and it was really great. Then I got nervous. I could see myself being in a serious relationship with him and I was not living in a way where I could be my best self. I kept feeling split. Who I truly was and how I was living on the other side. He wasn't attempting to change me at all, but I felt my flaws amplified and without really talking about it. I ran (broke up with him). Because I was a mess. Because most people want to rush into relationships without a strong foundation. Because the next relationship I'm in will be intentional and headed towards marriage. Period.
First, I had some things to take care of. I was constantly broke, couldn't communicate well though I'm a writer (poet AND playwright), had no stability, drank way too much, cursed heavy, and surrounded myself with people that were living lifestyles I didn't want to live. I was a believer, but I definitely put my faith on a backseat. I didn't want to pray over anything except what I wanted and he was praying. I was tired, but comfortable with fabricated stability.
Now look, the freedom to just do whatever was good but I knew greater. I knew that the stress and worry I was feeling all the time was a direct result of me not doing what I should be doing. That's managing money better, communicating better, taking care of my body (no alcohol belly), watching what I say in general, and surround myself with people I want to be around. Doing it was hard. I thought the way I wanted to live wasn't possible.
This relationship made me consider something I think about a lot actually. Who do I want to be and do I like who I am? I wasn't interested at the time to answer these questions. Then I started doing what I wanted and things appeared to be better. Until suddenly I found myself once more about to be without a home. I was really tired. That I'ma just do something different tired. I made my plans to say goodbye to all my peeps in St. Louis and even had a final show (ironic only my friends came out anyway). I booked the U-haul to move back home to TN defeated. Last minute I applied to one last job. One I actually wanted with salary pay in St. Louis though I had interviews in TN too and I could even apply to grad school. Then I got the job in St. Louis!
I stopped and prayed. I've been here before. At a crossroad with no clue what to choose. I needed to hear from dad (God). It actually took a minute for him to answer. But when he did it was amazing!
From there I did a 360. I was going to put my best foot forward. And I have. I have *sings* money in the bank (not a lot but hey it's a start), a new job, my dream apartment for now, I workout regularly, I use intentional language, and am doing the things I want with the people I want to be around. Oh yea and about the guy. We're friends. (I know not what you expected hahaha) I started the story there because my next post will be about this book I'm reading called, "The Wait" and all it is about is healthy relationships. This relationship is the only one I've ever had that was semi intentional. Every other guy has just wanted casual relationships. (No title, no dates, no commitment) *New York accent* Get outta ere'! I didn't either until... Anyway, it's a struggle that I'm just starting to get a handle on. As I discover who I am in God, I realize even more what I desire in a husband as he pursues me. So stay tuned ya'll. Laters!!
Tomorrow will finally be the book release for my book, "My Last Words... Not really"!! I'm beyond excited. I started making the book in 2015 while homeless and then finished the book February 2016 (I checked my archives here, score 1 blog) and now I am having the release almost two years later. (These things take time)
Hopefully see you tomorrow, if not you can order the book at the link below and have it delivered right to you, just click.
I interrupt the normally scheduled program with celebration for my locs.
It's been a little over a year since the beginning.
Here is to the semi-freeform journey. If you have questions just ask.
My hair regime:
Oil hair and scalp daily to avoid dry hair
(Olive oil, Tree oil, Peppermint oil, and sometimes Argan oil mix with Coconut oil overlay)
Co-Wash every two weeks (Shea moisture conditioner or whatever)
Wash every month (Shea moisture or whatever)
"Rip" locs that grow together usually after a wash
Cleanse with apple cider vinegar wash and baking soda conditioner
And that's it! Sometimes I dye my hair on my own as well. *looks at pictures* My has it grown.
I've taken that leap by deciding to Loc my hair. For years people have suggested I loc my hair, but I never wanted to do it because someone told me I should.
Set the scene I'm 11 years old and my hair is breaking brushes. My aunt is frustrated with doing my hair all the time. She suggest dreads. DREADS!? My eyes grow big with fear. They're so permanent! She tells me, "You can always cut them out." CUT!? My dream is to have long, glorious hair not to cut anything. So I say no. She shrugs and ends up cutting my hair anyway. A low cut. On my birthday *faints*
What do you call them?
Does it matter?...
Like many before me, I thought dreads was the correct term for locs. That negative cogitation made me assume locs were dreadFUL. And I was not a fan. As a kid I thought permanent (serious commitment issues) As a teen I thought stoner, ugly, a St. Louis boy thing. As an adult I've thought it's a trend. It's really been the last few years that I've thought dreads aren't so negative. It's your hair locing up. Locs Ooooo they're locs not dreads. People want to associate it with something negative, but it's not.
Whatever you call them it seems to be a matter of opinion less so facts. Facts are they were originally called Dreadlocks from the Jamaican culture that was the translation. However dreads are seen as messy and unkempt while locs are supposed to be more sophisticated and a connection to roots. -_-
Semi-freeform is my way of letting my hair do what it wants so it can be free WHILE being able to style it so I'm not just out here looking just any type of way.
Ways to Loc
As with anything I do I had to do my research. I'm no locing expert. I'm just sharing my journey on locing. I could be doing it wrong for you and your own journey. Okay, now that that's out there.
You have free form locs, sisterlocks, traditional locs, and bradelocz.
Free form is the original locing method. Sister locks are ultra tiny, traditional locs are usually strated by a beautician with all the parts, and bradelocz are started with braids. (I don't know much about this one to be honest)
When deciding to loc up my hair. I was trying to decide if I wanted to do it with the traditional twisted locs or to free form. My decision came to a mix of the two. Now for this to make sense I have to mention I was natural before. I was a free natural. Meaning often times I let my hair do it's own thing with little styling or manipulation often looking like I was locing my hair anyway. Since that was the case and I never really know how I want to style my hair I discovered locs could fix that issue.
I officially started locs in September so it hasn't been that long. I started from twist. I opted to do it myself and let them do what they were going to do. I do want thicker locs so I combined smaller twist to give it a bigger look. I only have about 50 or 60 locs in my head. It's hard to count. They are all pretty much budding at this point which is great. I did have trouble getting some of them to hold after doing my monthly wash. To fix that I braided some of them at the ends and that seems to keep the ones that are taking longer to loc together. I also had to fix some of the pieces that seemed to be pulling strands awkwardly by ripping my hair and conjoining the strands with their appropriate loc.
ripping- pulling hair from a loc
conjoining- putting hair together
This is only the fourth month, but I love my hair. It's starting to realize that I'm serious about letting it loc. I was a lazy natural often letting my hair semi loc in twist before combing it out so my hair was used to that system.
If you're considering locing I hope this gave you some insight. If you're just curious I hope this answered some things for you. If your just here to read and support... Thanks I like that in you.
Jump Rope Sis
Fitness. Life. Art. Travel.