What 2014 Has Taught Me

The last day of the year is here, but I don’t believe it to be a representation of things coming to a close. The days that follow when the clock strikes midnight won’t be a “fresh start” for me but a continuation of the work I’ve started of reveling in personal growth, positive vibes and self-love.

2014 knocked me down and picked me up more than a few times. It was a year of risks. I took a risk by launching a magazine – something I have always made a goal of mine but would let fear step in and disable me with the usual “what ifs” playlist on repeat. But enough is enough. I grew tired of the self-doubt.

2014I think being fed up with doubting myself and succumbing to fear also led me to step out of the comfort of living with roommates and venture out on my own. I was scared as hell for the first month but I wouldn’t trade the solitude and serenity, which can only be found by having your own place, for anything.

I also think my newfound penchant for taking risks allowed me to muster up the courage to create this blog. I sat on the idea for months and it never evolved past that stage until one day I decided to take action. It wasn’t enough for me to just write in my journal. I needed to create a space for myself to drown out the insecurities and dive headfirst into unearthing who I was, who I am and who I’m becoming.

Taking the time to reflect here on the many lessons I’ve learned – some of them brutal, all of them necessary – over the past 12 months will probably take what would feel like an eternity to outline, but there are a few things worth highlighting.

My four takeaways from 2014

1. Too much planning means too little action.

I’m notorious for over-planning and over-analyzing things to the point of talking myself out of trying something different or taking on a new challenge. But after I read Ryan Babineaux and John Krumboltz’s “Fail Fast, Fail Often” book earlier this year, I am forever changed, especially after reading this sentence:

“If you wait until you are free of anxiety and doubt, then you are going to spend a lot of time doing nothing.”

2. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t prepared, life is happening.

Throughout this year there have been times when I was ready to quit after being handed more than my fair share of bullshit. Being personally and professionally overwhelmed simultaneously is enough to make most want to cower in a corner and wait for the storm to pass. I don’t have the luxury of sitting idle. I’ve learned I have to roll with it because there are so many things I stress about that are simply out of my control and I need to conserve my energy for what truly matters. If I have to keep a bottle of Merlot on deck for the days when I’m hit hardest with emotional, mental and physical exhaustion, then so be it.

3. Heartbreak doesn’t discriminate.

It doesn’t matter how certain or secure you are of your romantic future, you can’t steer a relationship to success on your own. Reciprocity is key. You want someone who will give you the same unapologetic, unconditional and unmistakable love they’re expecting to receive. Until then, fall in love with YOU.

4. Finding your voice is essential to finding happiness.

I chose to stop walking on eggshells so much this year. My feelings, opinions and thoughts are valid and I needed to start living as if they are. Repressing the baggage wasn’t doing me any good and was bringing me to a breaking point. I had to learn to speak up for my sanity.

All of these lessons are coming with me to 2015; I’ll need them as I navigate another 12 months filled with new opportunities to make my mark on this world. Next year isn’t my chance to start over; next year represents my obligation to keep moving in the direction I’m destined to go: forward.

Happy New Year to you and yours!
-Crissi

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Ten Questions

Here’s some great Sunday evening news: I’ve been nominated for the “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!” Many, many thanks to Minnie of Life in 100 Words for her nomination; it’s my first Sisterhoodone. I’m basking in love and support over here!

As part of the nomination, Minnie gave me 10 questions to answer. I had a lot of fun with these:

1. Why do you blog?

I decided to create Crissi Untangled because I grew tired of internalizing my feelings and thoughts. I didn’t want my self-doubt to keep crippling me. Blogging is a way to prove to myself that my voice matters and to connect with others who can relate to my experiences.

2. Celebrity crush?

Big K.R.I.T.; ain’t nothing like a Southern dude. ♥

3. Any hidden talents?

I can cross one eye at a time. (Does that really count as a talent, though? Lol!)

4. What’s the hardest aspect of being a writer/blogger?

Being consistent.

5. Favorite TV show?

“Pretty Little Liars.” Been down since Day One.

6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Being my own boss.

7. Favorite book?

“Gone Girl.” Hands down.

8. Any advice for aspiring bloggers?

Don’t straddle the fence like I did for several months. If even the slightest urge exists for you to create a space for yourself and your voice, just do it!

9. Goals for 2015?

To continue my growth as a young woman and a writer, build the Crissi Untangled brand, and live a mentally, physically and spiritually healthy life.

10. Favorite food?

Pretty much any kind of rice.


Now, I’ve come up with 10 questions of my own, and I’m nominating the following 5 ladies: Questions

  1. Alisha of The Alisha Nicole
  2. Drea of The Drea Daily
  3. Marie of GoodLooknOut
  4. Parys of Parys Akira
  5. Yetti of YettiSays

Ladies, please answer the questions below, link back to this post, come up with 10 questions of your own and then nominate 5 other bloggers. 🙂

Ten Questions

  1. What’s the silliest nickname you’ve been given?
  2. What was your first email address?
  3. Relaxed or natural?
  4. Favorite album of 2014?
  5. One of the things on your bucket list?
  6. Brown or white liquor?
  7. Favorite scent?
  8. Worst day of the week?
  9. Favorite movie?
  10. Mac or PC?

Have a great week!
-Crissi

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My Holiday Wish List

As I found myself getting caught up in the annual holiday hype, I needed to take a moment to recognize that everything I always stress over is secondary – the things that matter most aren’t accessible via cash or credit.Wish List

I was inspired after reading Amber Janae’s post to create a holiday wish list of my own. These are the things I desire that money can’t buy:

  1. Healing
  2. Peace of Mind
  3. Unconditional Love
  4. Closer Family Ties
  5. Consistency
  6. Self-Love
  7. Compassion
  8. Advancement
  9. Discernment
  10. Bangin’ Natural Hair!

What’s on your wish list? Let me know in the comments. Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season to you and yours!

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The Hardest Pill to Swallow

I decided it’s time for me to stop dismissing my feelings and wearing a straight face because, honestly, it’s exhausting having to keep it together all the time.

I need to start dealing with my heartbreak and sitting right here in my feelings. I’m human and I’m allowing myself to be just that. Walking through my hurt is the only way I can heal.

The hardest pill to swallow is realizing the one you love with every bit of your soul doesn’t really feel the same way about you.

PillI just knew I had love all figured out but everything I dreamed of having with him crumbled into pieces right in front of me and I could not prevent it. Nothing I could have said or done would have changed the outcome and that really fuels the anger and hurt I’ve been feeling. It bothers me when I’m not in control of a situation.

I was so certain that we were working toward the same goal of taking our relationship to the next level, and I was so confident that he wanted the same thing. I could not be any more mistaken. We were on two different chapters. We weren’t even in the same damn book.

That shit hurts like hell.

I have never felt heartbreak like this before. I’m forced to take things day by day, sometimes hour by hour.

I want to stay in bed all day and cry the pain away. I want to burst into tears at work while sitting in my cubicle and glaring at my desktop monitor. I want to drown my sorrows in another glass of chilled Merlot … or maybe some brown.

I am aching right now.

Everyone keeps telling me it will get better and I will look back and this will seem insignificant. That someone else will come along. I can’t even think that far ahead. Like Onika said, “When you in it you be thinking life is over!”

He was my first love, my first everything. He was supposed to be IT for me. We grew up together. We went from kids in full-blown puppy love to young adults trying to figure out our place in this world and fighting to keep our love afloat. Our lives were so entwined. We were family.

I still love him. A huge piece of me still wants to be with him. I want all of this to be some long, drawn-out, sick joke that went too far. For him to call me and say, “I messed up.”

But that’s not happening.

Life will not stop just because I have no clue where to go from here. I know I have to find a way to move forward. I haven’t the slightest idea when I will get through this, but I will.

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Looking Ahead to 2015

I’m participating in my first link up ever (yay!), which is hosted by the lovely Alisha, of The Alisha Nicole. Time to set my sights on 2015 and speak greatness into existence!

2015One of the things on my to-do list for this week was to write out my blogging goals. I think it’s important that I have some direction for Crissi Untangled and the things I would like to accomplish with this platform.

But it’s also necessary for me to consider the personal goals I’ll be working on in the new year. I plan to hit the ground running in 2015 and continue my evolution as a young woman, but there are some tangible things I need to tackle in order to keep moving forward on my journey.

My blogging goals for 2015

  1. Improve my social media presence.
    I’m totally content with Twitter; I think it’s the easiest and most user-friendly of the social networks. However, I should branch out and create other accounts to promote the blog. I have my eyes on Instagram, Pinterest and (possibly) Facebook.
  2. Create a working editorial calendar.
    Planning ahead is probably the one surefire way that I can sidestep procrastination. My goal is to be more forward thinking with my blog posts and not just write something when the mood strikes.
  3. Start a weekly and/or monthly series.
    I’m still in the beginning stages of this and will be fleshing it out in the coming weeks, but I’m eager to see where my creativity takes me.

My personal goals for 2015

  1. Eat healthier.
    Not that I eat junk all day everyday, but I could stand to cut back on a few things and substitute some of the other items with cleaner options. I have a carb problem!
  2. Maintain a workout regimen.
    This is so challenging for me. It happens over and over: I’ll start a workout routine and then lose motivation after a few weeks. I also struggle with consistency. That changes in 2015, no excuses!
  3. Read more.
    My book collection is getting out of hand. I need to stop buying books and start reading the ones I already have, and reading them faster. I get lazy with books sometimes.
  4. Practice positive thinking.
    Negative Nancy can’t come with me to 2015. This will take some work, but I have to take better control of my thoughts and let positivity in. I have to stop focusing on the bad things that could happen in any given situation and concentrate on the good. This will tremendously improve my mood.

What is your vision for 2015? Head over to The Alisha Nicole and participate in this awesome link up!

The Alisha Nicole

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Goals for the Week of Dec. 15

Happy Monday, y’all! I can’t believe Christmas is just 10 days away; this year flew right on by.

I’m working on ending the year on a productive note so that when 2015 rolls around I can stay motivated and keep the momentum going.

With that said, here are my goals for this week:

1. Publish two more blog posts.

DeskI know, I know. This was one of my goals a few weeks ago and should actually be a weekly goal. I’m still working on making this happen, which honestly involves me managing my time better. I get lazy in the evenings after working all day! Instead of defaulting to Netflix binge watching when I’m not feeling creative and struggling to come up with anything I think is worth writing about, let alone worth reading, I should be using that time to write until I feel confident in what I have to say. I’m always reading tips on blogging but if you’re reading this and have any pointers, you’re more than welcome to leave a comment below.

2. Write down my 2015 blogging goals.

As I’ve mentioned before, I really would love to see Crissi Untangled blossom into something great. I think the first step of seeing this come to fruition is setting up some goals, of which the main one is ramping up the blog’s social presence and extending its reach. I also want to start a recurring series or two, feature other writers and maybe even begin reviewing natural hair products. So many ideas are always running through my mind and leaving, so it’s best if I capture them when they show up. Maybe I should consider creating a vision board.

3. Begin reading “Bad Feminist: Essays.”

I bought Roxane Gay’s “Bad Feminist: Essays” a few weeks ago and I have yet to turn the first page. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it and now it’s time for me to crack it open. There will probably be tons of things for me to take away from the book before I even finish it, so expect a “Bad Feminist” related blog post soon! I also have “An Untamed State,” which is Gay’s debut novel, but I’m saving it for later.

What are you up to this week?

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A Belated Toast to Year 25

I turned a quarter-century over the weekend and now that the celebrations are over and I’ve had time to recover, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve reflected on while counting down my bornday.

The last year of my 20-something life has been nothing short of eventful. I’ve been through upsets, resets and everything in between. I’ve questioned my purpose and had my faith tested too many times to count.

I’ve witnessed everything I was sure to be my romantic future shatter before my tear-filled eyes and slither away from my grip. As I’ve said before, I’ve had to repeatedly learn to accept that there are many things that aren’t in my control and I should refocus my energy on the things that are within my reach, like entertaining my interests and pursuing my passions.

“I’m finally realizing that I can be my own greatest obstacle but I’m instead choosing to be my biggest cheerleader.”

Year 24 was me fully stepping out of post-college limbo and into adulthood. Year 24 was me finding my voice and using it unapologetically, without having to walk on eggshells and be concerned with stepping on toes. Year 24 was the start of me claiming power over my existence and the vibes I put out into the world, rather than handing that power over to others who hadn’t thought twice about me and my feelings.

25I’m not anywhere near having it all figured out, but I’m taking time to get better in touch with my needs and wants. I hear constantly how this is the time of my life that is meant to be lived a little selfishly. I have to focus on the things that bring me happiness and cut loose anything that is emotionally draining and counterproductive. I have to stop reciting excuses and grant myself more writing time. Most of all, I have to fall in love with ME.

At least once everyday since my birthday I find myself saying, “Damn, I’m twenty-five.” I can’t quite put into simple words why this age is so significant, but it feels amazing to me. Maybe it’s a combination of finally realizing that I’m not the naïve teen – or even the 20-year-old – I used to be and understanding that I still have more to learn and so much to accomplish. It could be that I’m finally realizing that I can be my own greatest obstacle, but I’m choosing instead to be my biggest cheerleader.

Whatever this feeling is, it makes all the bull I’m subjected to seem like insignificant little sticks in the sand.

Goals for the Week of Dec. 1

Monday arrived rather quickly, didn’t it? Anywhooo, I hope that each and every one of my readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and enjoyed spending time with family and friends. I’m still exhausted from traveling but I’m getting right back to the grind.

I took a cue from The Alisha Nicole and decided to share my goals for this week:

1. Finish reading “The Defining Decade.”

I’m such a procrastinator! I’m about 85 percent through Meg Jay’s book, “The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter – And How to Make the Most of Them NowDon't Just Stand There.” It’s a really great read and it has put a lot of things in perspective for me while I navigate life as a 20-something, and helped me realize that I should be taking advantage of opportunities that enhance my “identity capital.” I highly recommend adding this book to your reading list.

2. Write and publish two more posts.

This will be a little challenging. I’m still a newbie to blogging and I’m all over the place right now, but I’m working on establishing some consistency. This time of year is always hectic for me, so I have to work on carving out time and dedicating it solely to the blog. This is an ongoing project that I would love to see blossom into something great.

3. Toast to Year 25.

Turn up!!! My 25th birthday is just five days away and I keep shifting between states of excitement and paranoia, but that’s a post for another day. I’m making plans to let loose a little and celebrate with my lovely friends. I will also use this week to reflect on the things Year 24 taught me.

What are you up to this week?

3 Things I Told Myself This Week

Before my mind fully transitions into weekend mode, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on what seemed like another whirlwind of a week and the pep talks I needed to get me through.

Here are three things I had to tell myself – in many cases, more than once – over the last few days:

1. You are more than capable. Unapologetically You

Self-doubt is an every-other-day demon in my life. I have to remind myself: Whatever the challenge or task, you have the ability to tackle it. Don’t let fears of the unknown continue to paralyze you. Don’t force yourself into a psychological meltdown by filling your head with worst-case scenarios of failure and fallout. As long as you put forth your best effort, that’s all that matters. You got this.

2. There are things in your life that you cannot control.

Huh?? About half of the time I hear this from my loved ones, it goes in one ear and out the other, which makes it a much harder pill to swallow when I muster up the courage to repeat it to myself. Those who know me well will tell you I’m a bit of a control freak, and even when it’s clear that I have lost the battle for control of any given situation, I still find it difficult to let go. I’m a worrier, but I’m learning and relearning that I can’t worry about the things that are out of my reach.

3. You are awesome!

And not everyone can handle that. You don’t need to exert any energy on convincing someone how wonderful you are. Just be you. Authentically and unapologetically, YOU. Over the past few weeks I’ve been dealing with the unraveling of a relationship that I’ve cherished for years and it’s arguably been one of the most trying and teaching experiences I’ve gone through in my almost 25 years on this earth, and it’s still a struggle. But, as a friend reminded me: “sometimes God puts certain people in our lives for a season, while others are around for a lifetime.” Now is the perfect time for me to be a little selfish and focus on my awesomeness.

I hope at least some of my words have resonated with you in some way. I would love to know: What things did you tell yourself this week? Feel free to comment below.

On Creeps and Catcalling

I’m glad the people of the interwebs are engaging in an ongoing conversation about the problematic practice of catcalling and its lasting effect on women from all walks of life, but these talks haven’t dramatically changed, for the better at least, how I feel about the issue, and this is why:

No matter how much women – and some men, too – light up social media to scrutinize it, catcalling is here to stay.

Don’t get me wrong; I applaud women like Feminista Jones, Amanda Seales and Jessica Williams who are visible and vocal about the many, many ways catcalling is degrading and disrespectful, but the fact remains that for every guy who gets the message and chooses to change his behavior, there are tons more who couldn’t care less about perpetuating this ugly, uncomfortable reality.

Ever since I’ve dared to develop curves and cleavage, I’ve experienced more than my fair share of catcalling. As much as naysayers will label the statements spewing from every overly thirsty guy’s mouth as compliments and innocent flirting, I have never appreciated the extra attention, nor have I asked for it. And I won’t ever consider being ogled by complete strangers a compliment.

I’ve gone – and still go – to great lengths to avoid being catcalled:

  • Yelling things like “jail bait” to fend off offenders (this dates back to my teens, when grown-ass men old enough to be my daddy thought it was perfectly fine to approach me).
  • Dressing down in sweats to stop my appearance from doubling as an open invitation for some creeper to express his sexual desire.
  • Activating my resting bitchface.

None of the above courses of action seem to stop the street, store, [insert any other societal setting] harassment, which leads me to believe that catcalling won’t be quashed, at least for the foreseeable future.

Still, I want to know: Why do men continue to think it’s OK to demand attention from women who would like more than anything to just get from point A to point B in peace? You know, without being bothered??

As Seales so eloquently put it:

“It’s not because of etiquette. It’s not because of civility. No. At the core it’s because even with our voting rights and careers, women are still heavily marginalized and suppressed in many ways.”

It’s really frustrating when something so serious as street harassment is watered down to simple “compliments” and flirting, when in the most extreme cases a woman can lose her life for rejecting a man’s advances.

But I’m hoping I’ll be around to see the day that a woman will no longer have to think twice about what she wears and where she walks, all for the sake of dodging some disrespectful douchebags.

In the meantime, in between time, I’ll rewatch Williams’ hilarious – and, sadly, accurate – catcalling segment from The Daily Show, “Jessica’s Feminized Atmosphere.”