It's been a minute and that's okay. Sometimes life doesn't go as planned. We set all of these "resolutions" and expectations then life throws us 2020. We had to learn last year that our goals are only attainable when we are focused or maybe you learned some other lessons. I don't know what your goal was/is. I don't know what you have brewing for this year, but I do know that it important to know that success takes time. We are constantly works in progress. This isn't to discourage you, but to encourage you. I'm right here with you.
I am in process of sculpting my body and mind into the thing of my dreams. My soul and spirit have done the groundwork now I just have to get in alignment. Now this work isn't just physical. This is an entire overhaul.
I want to share this journey with ya'll. I don't do any of the amazing things I do alone. There's usually people who I springboard my ideas, dreams, and plans off of. My YouTube holds me accountable to my creativity even now when I don't necessarily FEEL creative. I did 20 goals for 2020. I'm not sure I need that many for 2021, but I'll share some here.
My Goals of 2021
-SAVE (manage my money wisely)
-Focus on fitness
I kiss the top of my cats head, let the sun play over our bodies, and then walk into my naturally lit living room. I lay down the worries of another ASAP grant application and my concerns that my income from my job isn't enough and breathe in. Inhale. Exhale.
When COVID-19 forced the world to go into quarantine I was astonished at how things moved so quickly to shut down. It was like watching a wave come as you are paddling out into the ocean and being knocked off of your board before you can dive under the wave to miss the hit. A lot of people assume that if you have a job that that means you're good. But many Americans (if not other cultures as well) have multiple streams of income. One of my categories of employment is artist. As an artist I teach, perform, and create. And while I was hit like many other artist, the assumption is that I couldn't possible be failing under the wave. I could and am.
The biggest difference is that I also have a job, that I am extremely grateful to have. But I realized that my income is effected by my artistry in a BIG way. It brought me to the conclusion that being an artist is NOT enough. I can't depend on income from my artistry in any real way. I have one product. I have art that I don't sell. But I am not financially benefiting from anything other than mainly live performances/live teachings. I didn't cross over to the digital realm because I felt like other self employed artist had more of a right. But I am also an artist and I also had a hit to my finances in an unexpected way. I am not excluded.
Once I wrapped my head around this reality I knew I had to make some changes. Though art is my passion and expression, it can also be my business. I don't like to see my art as business because it feels like I am losing integrity by doing so, but really it is putting value on my art. The same as I look at my library career as a value added to my time this is putting value on my art. I am, in lack of a better word, an entrepreneur. I cringed at the term because I didn't think we existed in the same plane. I kept feeding myself the same lines. "I'm not a business person." "I'm not a marketing expert." "I'm not an entrepreneur." It's simply not true.
I am a career woman, an artist, AND an entrepreneur. All at the same time. Being an artist is not enough for me. I value what I create. I refuse to apologize for having multiple streams of income or demanding what I am due for my services/products. There are some people who can function for free. I can not. I can not afford to be shortchanged or looked over. This does mean that I have to also educate myself accordingly. I have to learn business and marketing. I have to learn financial strategies. Though I can't do it on my own I at least have to learn the language.
Before this I questioned if I was making enough to justify the input of my funds. I felt I was making little in return. Though it was little it had big impact that I overlooked. My budget included my little not just my other income. I know that the economic climate is shifting in a big way so we must shift with it. That is what I am doing. My word for the year is invest. So that means stocks, savings, Roth IRA, and also in my business. Do you have areas in your life that you feel have to change?
Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. Was your money impacted by COVID-19? What strategies are you using to put you in a better financial standing?
Here we go ya’ll. The smell of sage and prayers hang on the brick of my loft while my laundry swirls kind of loudly in my washing machine. Today I felt as if I woke from a dream. I was able to see the wheels turn again. The fog has been clearing ever so slightly in these months.
I’m not a nothing girl. I don’t want to have the capability to do nothing. I want to do something. The guy in Office Space was crazy. I love working. Really love it. It brings a weird balance to my life that I didn’t realize I crave. Do you feel the same? I guess that’s what happens when you love the things you do.
This time has allowed me to take out the time to spend time sitting in the quiet, get rest, and slightly think about what I want to do with other aspects of my life. It has really shown me that my relationships are extremely important to me. I get to water them with their own special watering can and watch the leaves change position throughout the weeks. I can also see what is wilting and what needs to be pruned. Taking out the time to garden in the landscapes of my relationships makes me feel a sense of relief.
There is this beauty in the home I am building. Also the steps I am taking to make my home stronger. Investing in things like my financial security is extremely important to me. Spiritually I've seen growth that is difficult to explain. But here we go...
Stay tuned. Love ya'll! Laters!
Apparently turning 29 marks the last of my twenties. It signifies the beginning of a new era without the perks, yet. And I apologize. Really from my birthday on I've been stumbling into the New Year. I blame the Mexican heat. Let me say this before I seem like I'm complaining. I loved my trip to Mexico. It was relaxing and peace filled. I loved the resorts, I got to ride in a boat, snorkel, kayak, swim, sleep in a cabana, eat well, see cute men, talk to great people, spend it with my bestie, saw some monkeys, and overall had a blast. Then... I got travelers uhmmm *whispers* diarrhea. So horrible! I drank the water and ate some seafood. *palms face* So I got sick, sick. It was not pretty. It was actually the worst experience ever. I was sick for the remainder of my trip AND for a week when I returned. I was pretty much team I'mnevergoingbacktoMexicoEVER. Then I was able to calm down.
Two Rules of Mexico Travel:
1) Buy Nothing from the Airport or a Time share: I repeat don't buy a timeshare.
2) Don't drink the water OR eat seafood at a Mexican joint: Only do so at a resort, unless you have a stomach of steel. I thought I did, but no. I don't.
Periodically I ghost. I ghost people, social media, and my craft at times. This time is a tad different. I ghosted for my craft. Sometimes we just need to refresh our ideas, thoughts, and goals without the prying eyes or pressure (granted the pressure is self-made). Though from the intro you can tell I spend entirely too much time on Twitter. *cough, cough* @sistasols on Twitter
Change is in the air.
If you are new, welcome. If you are back, what's up! As you know the end of the year (AKA my birthday in December) is when I celebrate the New Year. It'll come with a new word for the year and also usher in a bunch of new content. This space will go through yet another revamp.
My new book is coming, my new book is coming. So keep your eyes peeled.
I went to Vegas ya'll and it was... amazing! Not because of Vegas, but because the St. Louis Youth Slam team won Brave New Voices!!!!
What's Brave New Voices? So glad you asked... I didn't. Well here's the answer anyway. Brave New Voices is a International (yes, international) slam competition where youth poets compete for the title. They also make lasting connections, network, have fun with other writers, etc.
Now the reason this is so amazing is because they are the first team in STL to win a competition. (We been fighting ya'll). I discovered Brave New Voices right before I went to college and was so distraught that I couldn't go. I found CUPSI (the collegiate slam) too late in the game to find two other people to join our group of three. And adult slam has been a challenge all of it's own making.
The babies (teenagers) had a blast and worked hard for their win. I am honestly proud to have been their co-coach. Below is a video about the trip and me packing for it. If you've seen my insta you've seen the outfits they were serving. It was a blessing to travel with them and to co-coach with the phenomenal Paula. Paula is a amazing writer and poet in their own right, but also just a humble fierce kind human.
My favorite moments were the prayer circles where we all held hands and prayed in different languages, to different Gods, and were of different faiths. It was a holy experience that is truly what love is all about.
PS; I have a shadow beard this video. Come through off lighting.
We all have procrastinated. Some of us have made it an art form that is hard to duplicate. I used to be queen of working in a storm. I didn't understand how one could get work done when they were at peace and not feeling the heat of a deadline. Now? I am honest with myself about my deadlines and how they have to be reached. I can't afford for the delay.
Not just money wise. I'm talking time. My time is valuable even to myself. I can't waste it with I shoulda, coulda, or woulda... If I know I can't commit the energy ahead of time I know to say no or walk away. I sign up for only what I can actually follow through with. Even if that means stepping back from things I love. Recently, I've learned that the art of service is committing to that service. We have to know our limits. People will ask you for everything you have and if you don't have the capacity to give "No" has to become your ally.
However, I'm not even talking about service or people. I'm talking about self. We hold ourselves to crazy standards and then are upset when we don't achieve the goal. I went from "I want to lose 100 pounds this year" to "I want to be healthy for life." Then I dug deeper. I went from, "I want to lose..." to "I want my knee to not hurt", "I want to be able to lift myself", "I want to not have my airplane seat belt stretch to the last bit". Also I had to be realistic with myself. I don't have time for two a days. I don't want to go hard everyday in workout. What I can do is at least walk everyday for 30 mins. I can always still hit the gym or go harder, but 30 mins of walking is my minimum.
It worked. Being realistic about my goals made it so all of my goals were not only achieved, but exceeded. It also requires me to have a clear goal with a plan to achieve it. If you've followed along with my journey on Instagram or Snapchat then you've seen most of my fight as far as health. Now my video is a whole other version of this vlog. In case you're a video person and not down with the words. You may have even clicked that first. If you do both, bless your heart.
I'm happy to be in a place where I'm getting it done. I'm not even sharing my ambitions and dreams where they aren't able to grow. I learned that I can't share my vision with everyone, not even because people don't support me. It's because some things aren't meant to be voiced out loud until the right time. However, those I do share with are able to see, support, or push me forward. I stopped expecting the unrealistic polish on life. I like reality. I love being honest with myself about what I need and want. Productivity has become a companion that I honor without the procrastination.
Ya girl has been working! Not just at work, but on myself and it has gotten real serious. I'm talking waking up early, getting 8 hours of sleep, and intentionally moving everyday type serious. I knew a few months back that this transition was going to require... My word of the year: FOCUS.
That meant stepping back from my blog. Stepping into some vlogs because that makes sense. I also took a step back from social media. Not a break break, but it wasn't inhaled like crack rocks. If anyone I work with sees this, I mean candy okay.
I've still been doing poetry tings (yes, tings) even if I haven't been to a open mic or show in a very very, very long time. Sometimes a person just needs a breather. *inhales, exhales* We overwhelm ourselves with the need to always be moving, doing, and sharing. I think there's something beautiful about sharing, but there is also something beautiful about sitting that tail down and meditating in prayer.
Long overdue, but here is a glimpse of me working as a poet in a unconventional way. I get booked to talk to classes via Skype or Google Hangouts talking to college kids and high schoolers as well. It is a blessing to find new ways to connect with people in this digital world.
If you've been following along. Thank you! Let me know what you think.
Alright so this is the final video in the series. "It's been real, it's been fun. It's been real fun."- my co-workers favorite saying. Now it's time for me to pack my bags for the next adventure. Also getting back to my regular vlog/blog life. Please enjoy the video below. Leave comments or questions if you have them.
The idea of a vacation was so foreign to me before this trip. Who just spends money to go to another place for no reason other than to just relax? Who has the time? Who has the resources? Who are THOSE people?
Me, I'm that person. For years I wouldn't even dream of going on a vacation let alone a beach vacation because I couldn't do it. There was no way. Well now that I'm working full time in a job that gives me PTO my excuses ran out. I did something crazy. I bought tickets 6 months in advance to a country/island I had never been to before in my life. Then I had some amazing friends aka my crazy friends buy their tickets as well. 6 months in advance! These are my forever people because literally no one on my friends list has yet proved they are THAT willing. My bro didn't even have his passport when we booked the flight.
I am sooooo grateful for these friends, for that trip, and for a new perspective. I know it's a lavish first world yada, yada, yada. I didn't go on a mission trip or save a tribe. I did however get to share memories with two amazing humans. Seeing their faces in awe as we stared at water or clouds or trees will forever make it worth it. Also struggling with French, but I think we knew more than we thought.
I could have went solo (boring! okay not really boring, but I love spending time with people). I am happy I didn't. Each year for my birthday I now want to share it with a friend (or two) and go somewhere, anywhere for a breather and just kick it. My birthday is my new year and filled with so much sentimental importance that I don't believe in small. At least until I turn 30 because let's get real I have bigger goals that just birthday trips.
I'm still posting these videos because I do still have that full time job, but also because I really want to remember this whole vacay slowly. The last videos will be posted at the 6 month mark aka a few weeks. I hope you've enjoyed them. My regular blogs/vlogs will return sooner than later.
Love you all!
Fitness. Life. Art. Travel.