My First Love

Writing is hard.

It’s such a simple but weighted statement: Writing is hard. But as much as I run from it, I can’t avoid this thing that is woven into the fabric of my being.

Writing is my first love.

I lean on it when there’s no one and nothing else to turn to. I reach for it when I’m surrounded by loved ones who don’t understand. I return to it when I’ve neglected it for seasons on end. Writing is hard but it has my heart.

I mourn when the paralyzing fear consuming my spirit keeps me away from it. I dwell on it constantly, even when I don’t always have the audacity to face it.

I can’t shake it even when life gets in the way. It’s everpresent, waiting in the wings of my subconscious for me to once again embrace it.

My first love.

Writing was there the moment I could hold a pen steady between my fingers. It showed up when I shared with my second-grade class I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

It extended itself to me when the shames and struggles of a fatherless adolescence damaged my psyche. It was there for a life-changing heartbreak and the necessary self-discovery that followed.

Writing has never left me, even when my fragile ego and crippling self-doubt urged me to walk away.

So I manage to find my way back, even while agonizing over what will manifest when we reconnect. I may not always get it right, but I’m choosing to show up and give it what I have.

Writing is hard, but it has my heart.


They Lied; I’m More Than Enough

I’ve been told that I’m not enough. 

My frame is too curvy. My hair is too kinky. My teeth should be straighter. My smile should be bigger.

My stomach should be flatter. My waist should be smaller nonexistent. My breasts should grow a cup size or two.

I should fit the mold for what society deems attractive, desirable and palatable.

I’ve been told that the way I already show up in the world is not enough.

Continue reading my guest post on No Lies Told Then.

I Let Life Get In The Way.

I let life get in the way.

It raced through and robbed me of my first love — writing. I wanted to speak my truth but self-doubt talked me out of it. I wanted to put pen to paper but fear of failure blocked me. I wanted to write, damn it.

A damaging assumption took root in my mind that made me believe every time I sat down to write, it needed to be some profound and earth-shattering prose that had to evoke some sort of emotion in every reader.

That shit is crippling. And nine times out of 10, it was the easiest way to turn me off from writing down even one word.

I can’t really pinpoint when or where it happened. Maybe it was the upset and excitement that comes from switching jobs. Or the overwhelming anxiety of moving across state lines and compromising my solitude in the process.

It also could’ve been the hopelessness and despair that resurfaces every time another person of color becomes a hashtag, or that it’s becoming increasingly apparent America is headed in reverse.

I can’t really pinpoint when or where it happened, but it siphoned out what remaining desire I had to create.

I sat on my words for months, sprinkling in half-hearted journal entries when the thoughts crowding my head space were too loud to carry.

But now I’m sick of giving the shitty shades of life so much power. The self-sabotage; the anxiety of not realizing my potential; the comparison to the next writer — which is always followed by a blow to my confidence.

I’m finding my way of wading through the mess and creating in spite of it.

We’re Angry; We’re Tired. We’re Also MAGIC

Another black man has been taken from us. Another victim of gun violence perpetrated by the very “public servants” who — we’ve been told countless times — are put in our communities to keep us safe.

But that’s where our optimism for and understanding of modern American society keeps failing us. Law enforcement officials and the departments they belong to aren’t in our communities to “protect and serve.” They’re placed there to maintain the strongholds of institutional prejudice and racism, to incite fear and to play God, picking us off one by one and not giving a damn who documents it because, their freedom won’t ever be compromised. All of this, while our freedom is confiscated everyday.

“Our mere existence in this country is grounds for our extinction.”

It’s infuriating that a white man can wave a loaded gun around, pointing it at authorities and whomever else he pleases and live to tell the story, while a little black boy can’t play with a toy gun — as little boys do — in a park without losing his future.

It’s maddening that a white man can murder a group of black parishioners in a house of worship that welcomed him with open arms and manage to see his day in court, but a black woman never made it home after attempting to exercise her rights during what should’ve been a routine traffic stop.

Our mere existence in this country is grounds for our extinction. Nothing we do seems to be enough to change that. I’m so tired of these bigots and bullies working overtime to belittle our worth and break our spirit.

I don’t have the answers for how to fix this. I don’t know if this is something that is solvable. But I do know although every ounce of praise and adoration we give ourselves is met with resentment and resistance, we must continue to celebrate and uplift each other through this dark present.

We are magic.

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You didn’t ask for it to end, but it’s over.

The plans, hopes, daydreams — the lifelines to them have all been cut. The anticipation of one day stepping together into greatness has been gutted. The safe bet, the sure thing you had with him is no more.

Sit in that reality for a while.

Allow the news to blind side you. Let yourself be combative and refuse to accept the loaded yet empty manner in which he chose to walk away. Permit the years of beautiful and bad memories to resurface from the vault.

Cry your eyes out. Drown your sorrows in whiskey and wine. But keep it together just enough to get through each workweek.

Write those petty and pain-filled journal entries when the anger is too much to contain. Recount how much you’ve invested — emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually — into this thing. Let it fuel you to later be extra careful about who and what you give your energy to.

Hope that one day he’ll realize he screwed up and find his way back to you. Pray that you’re tough enough to dismiss him and repay the hurt.

Ask God to heal your aching heart. Beg Him to help you get over this guy.

And then, just as life does, you move the fuck on.

Shed fewer tears as time passes. Dwell on what used to be a little less frequently. Love on every ounce of the melanated beauty that you are. Focus on being authentically and unapologetically you.

Chin up, Baby Girl.

WYAO April 2016This post is part of the Twenties Unscripted 10-day writing challenge, Write Your Ass Off April. Find other posts from the challenge by searching for the hashtag #WYAOApril. 

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“You’ve reached your destination.”

I had arrived and set up shop at a plateau for what felt like an eternity. I was stuck.

I lost faith. I stopped believing that another wave of forward movement would find its way to me. Circumstances outside of my control affected my day-to-day more than usual. My creativity suffered personally and professionally. The lack of inspiration lingered much longer than anticipated.

Nothing comes close to the sense of defeat that hovers over you when you’re stagnant.

I eventually uncovered the truth about my relationship with this plateau. I had allowed myself to accept complacency and it in turn overstayed its welcome. My spirit was screaming at me to stop permitting my life to play on a loop.

I ignored the screams for a while but they had become so overwhelming that I was forced to finally listen.

I had two options: Either leap, or lose. I chose the former.

No more settling for what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. No more being afraid of the unknown and compromising my happiness as a consequence of that fear.

It was time to abandon my stint on the plain that had inadvertently become my home. It was time to ascend.

Onward and upward.

WYAO April 2016This post is part of the Twenties Unscripted 10-day writing challenge, Write Your Ass Off April. Find other posts from the challenge by searching for the hashtag #WYAOApril. 

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This wasn’t supposed to happen. You weren’t in my plans.

I wasn’t anticipating another dating escapade. I wasn’t preparing to give another guy a chance to come into my world.

I’d dismissed the thought of wasting time on one more silly relationship. I’d written off the fruitless pursuit of love.

My heart was guarded and damn sure comfortable in its armored enclosure. But you managed to disregard the wall and find a way in.

Vulnerability was banned from my vocabulary. But you reintroduced it with your generosity.

Falling for you wasn’t on the agenda. But you penciled it in with your intimacy.

I fought you — I fought this — out of fear every step of the way because one heartbreak was enough to last me a lifetime.

But you showed me that living in fear isn’t living at all.

So my heart is bare and my feelings are raw. Wherever this journey takes us, let it be amazing and intense and unprecedented.

I surrender.

WYAO April 2016This post is part of the Twenties Unscripted 10-day writing challenge, Write Your Ass Off April. Find other posts from the challenge by searching for the hashtag #WYAOApril. 

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On Shying Away From My Blog

I’ve been out of my element for a while.

Letting life get in the way. Feeling uncertain and uncomfortable about a lot of things and unsure of the best way to make sense of it all.Shy

I could have sounded off here on Crissi Untangled, especially since that was one of the main reasons I decided to create this space, but I just found it easier to shy away from it.

I’m now at a point where I need to reclaim my space. I’ve been too hard on myself for too long.

My fear, insecurities and self-doubt are supposed to be checked at the door. Somewhere along the way I forgot that.

This is where I’m supposed to pour it all on the page. This is the vehicle through which I’m navigating my place and purpose on this Earth. This is my refuge, my respite, my retreat from the bullshit that often infiltrates my mind and interrupts my peace.

Well, the bullshit was working overtime and becoming overwhelming. And I needed a breather.

I think I’ve finally caught my breath for the most part.

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Quiet Weekends Mean The World To Me

I’m an extroverted introvert, if there is such a thing.

I have no problem playing the part of the social butterfly in settings that call for it, but once the fun times start to fizzle, I’m secretly looking forward to returning to my cozy, one-bedroom apartment and keeping myself company.

QuietI’m getting to know me all over again these days and one thing I’m beginning to value more than ever is self-care. And part of my self-care regimen requires periods of solitude.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy spending time with my loved ones or shooting the breeze with coworkers or being in other group settings. I just understand that if I don’t take time to retreat to what gives me peace, I start to feel drained and am forced to run on empty.

I don’t like being that person. I’m not happy when I’m her and I’m certainly not at my best.

Which is why I enjoy having quiet weekends. No travel. No visitors. No obligations. Just me … indulging in some time away from the noise of the daily grind, the drama and anything else that demands that I come out of my shell.

It’s my time to be replenished – emotionally, mentally and physically – after letting the extrovert in me work overtime.

Are you an extroverted introvert? If so, how do you recharge? Feel free share in the comments.

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What My Mane is Teaching Me About Life

One of the most frustrating, but often fulfilling, things about being a naturalista is that you basically become a part-time hair stylist – without pay.

LifeUnless you hit the salon every week, you are responsible for making your own tresses look presentable. Which is reason No. 1 why I usually default to protective styles. Sometimes I just. Can’t. DEAL.

But there are other times when I enjoy spending time with my hair. I usually dread wash day, but yesterday was different, maybe because I tried a few new products including Shea Moisture’s African black soap purification masque and Gold N Hot’s conditioning heat cap for deep conditioning, and Camille Rose’s nourishing cream leave-in. My hair is happy now, and so am I.

As I was taking the time to care for my mane, I thought about the ways it’s teaching me some life lessons that I will carry with me always:

It’s best to work in sections.

I have Type 4 natural hair which means it’s much more kinky than it is curly, and the shrinkage is REAL. In order for me to manage my hair (and not just stand in front of the mirror sobbing uncontrollably about how I don’t want to deal with the drama that my wet hair brings), I have to break it up into smaller sections and tackle it one section at a time.

The same method can be applied to life. If you have areas of your life that you want to work on, you will get overwhelmed if you try to handle them all at once. Keep it simple and improve one area before you move on to the next.

You can’t get definition without help.

My hair doesn’t “clump” together in curls like other hair types, so I have to rely on butters, creams and pomades to get the curl definition I desire.

In life, you won’t learn everything on your own. There will be people who come into your space to teach you lessons – both good and bad – and help you make sense of things. Yes, independence is important, but you will often have to rely on your relationships with others to gather meaning.

There is no one-size-fits-all.

Snapchat Stoplight Selfie!

Snapchat Stoplight Selfie!

My hair is not like anyone else’s. Just because a certain combination of products or a hair care regimen may work for you does not mean that it works for me. It will take some trial and error before I get it right for my situation.

This is also true in life. As I’ve said before, my journey is my journey. I can most certainly soak up advice and inspiration along the way, but my route is custom-made and I’m more than fine with staying in my lane.

Has your hair taught you any life lessons? Feel free to share in the comments.

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