My thoughts after watching the documentary American Promise

Documentaries have been my thing this year. I’ve fallen in love with the endless options on Netflix these days. Honestly, it’s a way for me to get informed on various issues. I recently finished watching American Promise. I heard about it earlier this year while perusing through NPR interviews, but finally got around to watching it.  It’s a documentary that goes through the educational career of two young African American boys, Idris and Seun. The filmmakers, also Idris’ parents, had the boys followed for 13 years from ages 5-17.  The film documents their experience at a prestigious private school and how they navigate through life and various challenges. The goal of the filmmakers was to shed light on issues that African American boys face when it comes to education. The film affected me on such an unexpected emotional level.  My heart went out to those boys as they navigated through life’s ups and downs, but I also saw a lot of familiarity in the film, as well.

While watching the film my nephews weighed heavy on my mind. The boy’s journey reminded me of one of my nephews in particular. Going to a predominantly white school, a diagnoses, a need for tutoring, and overall issues that are particular to African American boys.  At one point, Idris, can be heard questioning if he and Seun were white would things be different socially for them.  In particular their relationship with their female classmates. Idris feeling the need to change the way he talked while playing basketball with a predominantly black basketball team in order to fit in. The disconnect between African American boys and the educations system along with other opportunities of rejection were addressed throughout the film.  I love my nephews so much. I just want them to know that they are enough. Despite any label that’s put on them, rejection or any failings of the educational system. I want them to know that who they are is enough.

Something about the film made me reflect on feelings that have recently surfaced.  Over the holidays while visiting with a high school classmate I was reminded of a source of shame I’ve carried with me for years. I’ve often been in circles where I allowed my background and where I came from be sources of shame and inferiority. While attending high school and even after I compared myself to people who had two educated parents involved in their lives, more than enough money to afford them opportunities, options, exposure and access to things I didn’t.  Fast forward five years later and I’m an adult living abroad among a different set of people but having the same issue with comparing my background to the background of others. But as I mature and shift my perspective I’m beginning to realize something.

Child, I’m enough! That my background, my upbringing, and everything I’ve gone through is a part of my story.  Those things should have never been a source of shame but a source of gratefulness. I navigated through life and grew to be the woman that I am today. A person who didn’t come from an educated background but went on to be the first to complete university in her family. A person who has interacted with and developed relationships with amazing people. A person who can already say she’s lived a child hood dream of hers and has no huge regrets. Where I came from and what I’ve been through was enough to shape me into person that I am today. Who I am is enough.

Now I don’t know how I got all this from American Promise but I do know one thing. I hope that those boys know that they are enough. I hope that my nephews will get the message early on that they are enough. I hope that you know that who you are enough. That where you’ve came from and what you’ve been through is a part of your great story. It all plays a part in making you the exceptional human being that you are.

With all that said grab someone’s Netflix password and go watch you some documentaries. Watch American Promise and let me know your thoughts.



Dealing with anxiousness

I often have a feeling of anxiousness when it’s time for me to put something out into the world. Whether it be writing a blog post, writing for someone else or applying for a new position. I feel the same feeling when I have a full day to be productive and I fear not using my time wisely. I get anxious when I see other people bossing on life and I begin to compare my journey. I get anxious during times of transition. I get anxious and begin to question myself “What are you doing?” “You’re so behind, there so much more you could be doing.” While those thoughts can be self-motivating, I find them to be self-defeating. Instead of getting motivated and moving forward; I feel paralyzed and stuck. The question is how can I channel that anxiousness into something positive?
Anxiety is meant to alert you to danger and when you need to be careful. It’s meant to past when the situation is over. It’s meant to be a positive thing. I do want to say I understand that there are levels to anxiety. That there are people who suffer from serious anxiety disorders. While some of us suffer from mild; when we begin to let fear, about everyday situations, roam freely. We make up scenarios and problems before they even exist. It’s when we always fear the worst possible case. For me it could be fearing that my I will be rejected. Fearing that I won’t choose the right route. I’m slowly learning how to control these feeling of anxiousness. Below are a few ways I’ve gone about doing that.

• What’s the solution.- We get anxiety when we begin to fear the worst. Well say the worst does happen; life will go on either way. Why not come up with possible solutions to the problem that may or may occur. This has literally saved me in the past.
• Think of the best case scenario and how awesome that would be. Let that motivate you!
• Use your emotions-It important to get in the mindset of using our emotions and not letting our emotions use us. Use that fear of failing to motivate you to go for it and do you best.
• Just do it-Once you get your thoughts under control just do it. Do the thing you are fearing. Do it afraid! Take the first step and move in the right direction.


It’s definitely a shifting of the mindset and encouraging yourself. I would love to hear your story. How do you conquer the feeling of anxiousness? Please let me know in the comments section.

Dating and enjoying the moment

Andrea Lewis is always on point. Check out her recent video below titled “Cherishing the moment while dating”

I absolutely love everything she said in this video. It was a great reminder. We can get so caught up in thinking about our past relationships, and especially the future, that we forget to enjoy the moment. Enjoy the now. Live in the now. Be in the now. That’s truly living. I know when I find myself in dating situations I can get too much in my head. “Is this the man of my dreams? Do I even have a dream man? What will my family think? Are we on the same page about marriage and kids?” All that can be a distraction to what’s in front of you. A great person and a great time to get to know them. A time to enjoy the dates and the jokes. The laughs and adventures together.

I’ve experienced that anxiety and moodiness while dating that Andrea speaks off.  That anxiety serves me no purpose. There’s so much good that’s outweighs any bad that I could possibly make up in my head. This concept of enjoying and living in the moment can be applied to life in general. I have a reminder on my phone that tells me every day “don’t take these moments for granted.” Moments pass and I find myself always looking back. It’s important to live in the now and enjoy it to the fullest. So when I do look back I can be at peace knowing I was present in that moment.

She ends it with saying it is an act of self-love to live in the moment. Yes, it’s an act of self-love to know I deserve these happy moments while dating. I deserve the compliments, planned dates and everything else that comes with dating. Being grateful for the beautiful spirit that I’m spending time with is self-love. That gratefulness brings joy. I just want to say thanks Andrea Lewis for the reminder.

How about you? Do you find it hard to live in the moment while dating?

Friendships are work


Friendships are work. I would say it takes the same amount of effort and energy to keep the relationship afloat, as a romantic relationship. I’ve never been in a romantic relationship longer than a year. The longest relationship (outside of family) is a 10 year friendship that began in college (Hey Laura). I’m not talking about mere acquaintances you twerk with every now in then in the club with. I’m talking those deep, close, bosom buddies type of friendships. Those once in a life time friendships.

Don’t pity the girl with just one friend. Envy her. Pity the girl with just a thousand acquaintances. – Katie Obenchain

It’s been said that you’re lucky if you have two friends in a lifetime. I’ve always had that quote in back of my mind since the first time I’ve heard it. In my adulthood I believe it to be true. Now when I approach new connections I enjoy that person and the season that they are in my life. For I know that it one day will come to an end. I guess you would say that’s slightly pessimistic. Through experience I’ve found it to be true and I’m okay with that.


If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky.  If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky. –S.E. Hinton

I honestly believe the friends I’ve made in the past twenty years of my life are it for me. I believe I will meet awesome people and make awesome connections in the future. But I don’t think I’ll be meeting any new friends forever. Signing up for that means putting in the work. Being able to handle each other during different seasons of life. Possessing the ability to be a listening ear and being able to go through a week or more of talking solely about your friend’s current life crisis. Doing what you have to do to keep the relationship a float. Even if it means not having any space on your iPhone. Downloading an app that your friend has been begging you to download so you two can video message each other throughout the day (Hey Glide and Hey Melodie). Friendship takes empathy, love, selflessness. All that has to be mutual.

Am I complicating human connection here? Please let me know. What’s been your experience?

Ray does everything but “Just Write.”

My laptop longing for me to pound on its keys during my hospital stay.

My laptop longing for me to pound on its keys during my hospital stay.

Let’s talk about how I put of writing as long as possible. I’m such a procrastinator when it comes to starting and completing my various writing projects. I really need to get down to the bottom of why I find everything under the sun to do besides write. Yet, I get so much fulfillment from writing.
Do to minor health issues I have been forced to take a 10 day break in the hospital. I had my boyfriend bring everything I needed to survive the 10 day break; including my laptop so I can write (Thanks boo!). I’m on my sixth day and have not completed a thing. I have all these ideas swarming through my head about things to write on but haven’t started. Like before writing this post (which I did not set out to write) I finally broke out my laptop at 6 pm. I opened up Word then took a quick bathroom break. After the bathroom break I decide to go on a walk for coffee. Scroll through Instagram. Then through Facebook. I realized what I was doing subconsciously. Trying to do everything but write.

I created this blog so I can just write. I’ve been fortunate enough to come across a couple of writing opportunities this year. Once again it feels great to complete a project, but why is starting so damn hard? I think it’s a combination of things. Fear being one of them. I think I fear that it won’t be good enough. That I’ll fail at the task at hand. Like I’ll choose the wrong angle. Also, I never feel ready to write. I feel like I need to research more. I need to read a few articles for some inspiration. It also could be just laziness. Anytime I write I’m being stretched and feels like I’m giving birth to a project. (Not that I know what giving birth feels like.) I know its hard work and painful.
I’m hoping to conquer this and get to the point where I’m cranking out post weekly and finishing articles, well before the deadline. I think disciplining myself to set time out during the week to write and sticking to a weekly routine is a great start. Maybe I’ll always dread starting a project, but I look forward to the day where I don’t let that stop me from starting.
Is it just me? What do you to get yourself to the point where you just start writing?

Resilience and Black Folk

black h

Photo Cred: Instagram

               I remember studying American History in elementary school and the feeling I had every time we reached the paragraph about the contributions of blacks to America’s history. I could be wrong but it seemed to go a little something like this “slavery happened, civil rights, oh yeah, and Martin Luther King, great guy. Moving on.” It was a combination of feeling uncomfortable, cheated and wanting more. Then there was high school at a private, predominately white, Christian school. Where I can recall all of my speeches in speech class were either covering Black History or race related. It was a win-win in my high-school mind, I would learn something new through my research and in turn offer a different perspective to those listening. I also remember my high school’s attempt at celebrating black history month. In February, during morning announcements the administration would have one of the few black kids at the school read a “fun fact” about black history, every morning.

“If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” – Carter G. Woodson

Woodson made this statement in 1926 during Negro History Week. Woodson believed that teaching black history was vital to the survival of the black race in the broader society. Fifty years later the week was turned into a month. It is a month intended to pay tribute to our ancestors who fought and died to achieve full citizenship. Their stories and achievements weren’t being told and was often overlooked. The validity of the month is often questioned by people from various backgrounds. While I agree with Morgan Freeman 100% when he said “Black History is American History,” I recognize and appreciate the spirit and intentions of the month. The history of black people in America is not properly told in its entirety. Do we, as a nation, fully comprehend what people of color faced and overcame? No matter if it’s February or November; anytime I’m reminded of the history of blacks in America I always hear the word: Resilience

Photo Cred: Pinterest

Photo Cred: Pinterest

Resilience — the ability to be knocked down by life and comeback stronger. The capacity to recover quickly from stress and catastrophe. According to Froma Walsh, a leading authority on family resilience, “being resilient includes more than surviving and being a victim for life, it’s also the ability to heal from painful wounds, take charge of their lives, and go on to live fully and love well.”

Stripped from their homeland, their families and forced to endure years of enslavement. Legally considered 3/5 a person. Blacks kept hope of freedom alive, many of them rising up, resisting and rebelling. Many of them found creative ways to educate themselves and those around them. Freedom time finally came presenting new obstacles; setting up homes, finding work, and providing for their families. In spite of the failures of reconstruction, newly enfranchised blacks flourished even gaining a voice in the government for the first time in American history.
In 1941, the country entered into its first world war; black men saw this as an opportunity to prove their loyalty and worthiness to be treated as equal citizens. Only to face hostility when they arrived to training, then to return home after the war, to violence and ingratitude. Blacks went on to fight in WWII paving the way to a fully integrated military by the Vietnam War.
They excelled as educators, philosophers, musicians, writers, scientist, and theologians; all the while enduring decades of Jim Crow. Where laws were set up to disfranchise them; the housing options were inadequate, the education was poor and the economic opportunities were limited. The film, “Selma” did a great job at depicting the resilient spirit of people who refused to take “no” for an answer. There were times where progress was nowhere in sight. In spite of the countless beatings, jobs lost, numerous arson attacks, threats and lives lost they continued on. The sit-ins, the boycotts, the marches and protest continued, all in the name of freedom and equality. Forcing the government to ultimately pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and later on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Their courageous acts paved the way, opened doors and set the tone for the America we know today. Their resilient spirit is why there’s a history to tell. It is why Black Americans aren’t, as Woodson put it, “negligible factors in the thought of the world.”
This is resiliency embodied. Life is full of adversities. We all have the ability to overcome them and live full lives. American History is a testament to the human ability to be “knocked down by life and come back stronger.” I encourage you to re-connect with your inner strength and find ways to boost your resilience. Fully feel your emotions, encourage yourself, connect with others, reflect on a time you made it and were able to comeback stronger. Think of the great people who exude resilience and made history.

Ameli Boyton in “Selma” encouraged Corretta Scott King with these words:
“I know that we are descendants of a mighty people who gave civilization to the world. People who survived the halls of slave ships across vast oceans. People who innovate and create and love despite pressure and torture unimaginable. They are in our blood stream. Pumping our hearts every second. They’ve prepared you. You are already prepared.”

Trust you


I often write about issues that I’m working through at the moment. Presently, I’m working on listening to my intuition.  I’m no expert on the subject but here’s what I’ve found.

What is intuition?

Intuition is the ability to know something without reasoning — that gut feeling or hunch that shows up when something is or isn’t right. It’s your inner GPS. It’s the part of you that guides you to what’s authentic and true for you. It offers clarity when you’re feeling confused and overwhelmed. It’s that inner wisdom; that still small voice. I strongly believe intuition is God’s way of speaking to us.

External Influences

From the beginning we’re told what do, what to believe, how to think, what success is, etc.  We often suppress our intuition and replace it with external influences. When it comes to making a decision, I often find myself consulting others. One of my earliest memories of what I believed to be a life changing decision was my freshman year in college. I honestly didn’t know what I was supposed to study. I talked to family, friends, advisors, co-workers, mentors — anybody who seemed like they would know what I should choose as a major. In the end, their input just added to my confusion. I do believe in seeking counsel and learning from others, but I also believe that what we are looking for comes from within.

Internal Influences

My intuition spoke clearly in a recent decision I had to make, but logically it didn’t make sense to me.    I was honestly afraid of making the wrong decision.  Every time I settled that I would go with what my gut was telling me, I felt a peace.  I wanted to make sure I had all of the pieces to the puzzle before I move forward with making my decision.  I suppressed my intuition and went with what made logical sense.  I can definitely see where I’m dealing with the repercussions of my mistake. I now know that it’s worth it to listen to my gut. I’m thankful for the lesson and hope to not make the mistake again. Often times we won’t have all of the pieces to the puzzle.  We’ll just have a knowing.

How can we get in tune?

  • Know yourself – Take time out to pay close attention to who you are and what works for you. Self-reflect and find out what’s true for you. Figure out what you want out of your relationships, your daily activities, career, and your life as a whole.
  • Take time out – Quiet outside sources, whether it be TV, social media, your phone, or even your friends. Go for a walk; go play. Do something creative.
  • Meditate – Get quiet, clear your mind, and relax.
  • Recognize how your intuition speaks to you every day — maybe it’s through your desires, a tight feeling in your stomach, a quiet whisper, or a simple knowing that you can’t ignore.

It’s a powerful thing when we begin to take control and listen to the voice within. Our intuition knows what we need and want out of life more than we know ourselves.

I would like to know your thoughts on intuition.  Even if you totally disagree with me, I would love to converse about it. Please share in the comments below.
Photo Cred: Flickr