5 ways to Protect Your Peace

Your peace is sacred, protect it at all costs. Read on for the 5 building blocks you need to barricade your peace.

I inspire people with my sunny disposition. I often receive compliments on my high energy and people ask what keeps me walking on sunshine.

“Is it coffee? Money? Did you just go on vacation?”

I’ll let you in on my little secret: I protect my peace at all costs. I received this sound advice from a licensed professional (shoutout to Jenny!) and it has resonated with me ever since.

When I say peace, I’m referring to peace of mind–the source of your energy and happiness. Need some help protecting your peace? Here are my recommended tips:

5 ways to protect your peace

There are five behaviors I swear by in order to protect my peace:

  1. Having a “This too shall pass” outlook on life.
  2. Establishing boundaries.
  3. Ridding my life of toxicity.
  4. Keeping happiness on tap.
  5. Letting go of things that no longer serve me.

Let me break it down for you.

This Too Shall Pass

It is scientifically proven that bad memories are easier to recall than good memories are. I learned about this first-hand during one of my therapy sessions–at one point, I was really unhappy, and the topic of how tough my life was became a recurring theme.

One day, Jenny explained to me that negativity has a stronger impact on our minds and our lives simply because we give way more attention to it.

Basically, when bad things happen to us, our “woe is me” attitude comes from amplifying trauma and traumatic events, making them stick out like sore thumbs in our memory.

However, it’s important to know the difference between having a bad life and a bad experience.

“There’s a difference between having a bad life and a bad experience.”

When something bad happens, it’s natural to attach yourself to it, identify with it, and allow it to define you. Still, I want you to know that it’s not your life that sucks, it’s the problem.

I won’t devalue your feelings by telling you to get over what’s troubling you–I’ve had traumas that have taken me YEARS to overcome. With that being said, I bet for every negative moment you’ve experienced there are positive ones, too!

When you’re faced with a problem, try to disassociate yourself from it. It will take practice and a lot of conscious effort but, I’m living proof that it’s worth it! Here are some things I did to help me look on the bright side of life

  1. I distracted myself with a hobby– doing something fun and productive is a healthy way to distract your mind so that your troubles are not your main focus. For me, it was getting lost in fantasy novels and self-help books, watching anime, listening to music, and going on nature walks. Maybe you prefer biking, boxing or crocheting. Hey, whatever floats your boat, but getting lost in a hobby will serve you better than your negative thoughts.
  2. I immersed myself in positivity– surrounding yourself with positivity is a great way to boost your spirits. I’m a sucker for words of affirmation, so I engulfed myself with as many affirming words as possible- I downloaded the Mantra app on my iPhone which gives you affirming quotes at random and allows you to save them and use them as wallpaper (something I do to this day), I created a board on Pinterest dedicated to positive quotes (some of which I printed and taped to my wall and Mac), and when I needed to crank it up a notch I would burn sage and say a daily mantra. However positivity may present itself to you, I say do it and do it often.
  3. I went through my ‘motions– I tried to make my feelings go away by numbing them or pretending I didn’t feel them, but they would always find a way to rise to the surface. Ironically, I always felt much better after I went through them. Masking or numbing your feelings will not help you get over them, it just prolongs your process of healing. If you have to cry, cry. If you’re feeling angry, be angry. Find a safe space and go through your ‘motions where you can be free from worry or judgment. It’s way more beneficial than trying to will your feelings out of existence.
  4. I opened up about it– When the weight of life became too much to bear, I sought therapy and O.M.G it was the best decision I ever made for my emotional health. I’m a huge advocate for therapy and recommend it to anyone who is going through a tough time or surviving a traumatic event but I’m sensitive to the fact that it may not be an option for everyone. Whether you’re speaking to a friend, a spouse, or a therapist, I recommend opening up about your problems. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and seek emotional support, it can go a long way.
  5. I used a journal– Writing has been a form of therapy for me since I was a teen. My journal is my number 1 safe space because it’s so personal and I know no one else will be read it but me. When I journal, I don’t have the fear of being misunderstood or judged about my feelings and I’m free to write about what I want in the style I want. This level of intimacy allows me to get to the core of my feelings in a way that no other medium does because I know no one else is listening or watching. If you’re fearful of opening up to people, I recommend a journal or diary. You’re still able to air out what’s on your mind without having to worry about it reaching anyone else’s eyes or ears. It will take some practice if you’re not used to putting your feelings into words, but if you keep up the habit you’ll see improvement over time (practice makes perfect!)
  6. I released it– This was the most difficult part for me–getting to a point of acceptance. To move past my trauma, I had to accept that this bad thing happened and that it was beyond my control. This unfortunate unforeseen event, however devastating, can not be removed or changed from my past. And since it was beyond my control, I had to let it go. Unfortunately, there are no magic words or exercises that can do this for you. You have to do this last part on your own. The good news is, acceptance is a sign of growth and progress. Once you’ve defeated this final boss, you’ll notice that your problem will be easier to cope with. You’ll hurt a little less, think about it a little less, talk about it virtually never and life will suddenly seem a little brighter every day.

This disruption of peace that you’re holding on to doesn’t define your life. Your life exists outside of your problems and, if you make a conscious effort to put your best foot forward, you’ll find that life is good, and it’s ok. “This too shall pass.”

“Don’t let a disruption of peace define your life.”

Establish Boundaries

Establishing boundaries for yourself is absolutely necessary in order to protect your peace. I wish someone gave me this advice sooner.

Since I was a kid, I never set boundaries for myself and at one point was a selfless pushover who would accept people and their toxic ways without any push back out of fear that I would offend them or that it would end the relationship.

This left an enormously heavy weight on my mind and spirit, a weight that wore me down emotionally and affected my self-esteem.

Once I got in tune with my feelings and got the courage to speak up for myself, I started walking around with my head held high, light as a feather, just a beaming ray of confidence.

When you set ground rules for what you’re willing and unwilling to put up with, it prevents people from stepping into a sacred space where your peace can be jeopardized.

This violation can leave you with lingering feelings like anger or sadness, which can snowball into something worse if left unaddressed aka anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem.

Unsure of where to start? To put this into practice, here are a few tips that helped me:

  1. Pay close attention to when you feel emotionally provoked by someone’s actions or words.
  2. Dissect it with the “What, Why, & How”: Why did it upset you? Was it what the person said (or did)? Perhaps how it was presented to you?
  3. Communicate your feelings.

Emphasis. on. communication.

It does not matter how small the violation may seem, if it provoked you emotionally that means it matters to you, and your feelings matter.

It’s important to communicate your feelings and not let them build-up, this can lead to bigger problems such as stress or anxiety.

Speaking up in defense of yourself is establishing a boundary and letting people know that it’s not ok to hurt you. It does not matter the person’s relationship to you, if they care about you then they’ll care about your feelings.

Beware: toxic people will try to convince you that establishing boundaries is wrong and selfish. Although it’s certainly selfish, there’s nothing wrong with protecting your feelings. If you don’t, who else will?

Toxic people will try to convince you that establishing boundaries is wrong

It will take a lot of guts to stick to your guns, especially when you’re sticking up to an authoritative figure, but you must commit to it if you want to maintain peace.

Rid Your Life of Toxicity

Sometimes we hold on to toxicity out of convenience or fear, but if you’re trying to maintain peace, you’re going to have to let it go.

Toxicity can appear in numerous vessels–a job, a relationship, a habit; if it causes you emotional or physical harm, it’s toxic.

Toxic vessels thrive on dependence.

It will try to convince you that you can’t do better because you don’t deserve better and that your life can’t exist without it. That is 100% not true.

You can and should move beyond toxicity because you are worthy of happiness 🙂

I have been the victim of toxic workplaces more times than I’d like to admit.

I kept convincing myself (and allowing other people to convince me) that it was ok to tolerate.

I would say things like “It’s not like I’m unhappy ALL the time.”, “All jobs are like this.”, “NO ONE is COMPLETELY happy at their job.” or the classic “At least my bills are paid.” Na, that’s not it.

I got to a point where I asked myself “What’s more important, money or happiness? This toxic vessel or my peace?”

Once I got to my threshold of mental anguish, I parted ways and low and behold, my happiness has been at an all-time high.

It may be hard to let go of some of these vessels, like a job for example, but the right thing isn’t always easy.

I think Dumbledore said it best:

If you value yourself, you’ll prioritize your happiness and do what you have to do to preserve and protect it.

It’s impossible to maintain peace when you’re constantly being exposed to physical or emotional harm. It may be hard and it may take some time, but you’ll need to rid your life of toxicity if you want to protect your peace.

Be advised that when you’re trying to move forward in your newfound lifestyle of peace, happiness, and light, the life you so truly deserve, toxic vessels may attempt to hold you back.

It will try to latch on to you and convince you it can be better, but remember why you got to the point of uprooting in the first place.

Keeping Happiness on Tap

The basis of peace is happiness so it’s helpful to have a multitude of sources for it.

Think about it, what truly makes you happy?

I’m a minimalist, so for me it’s pretty simple. Here’s my list:

  1. Spending quality time with loved ones.
  2. Watching or listening to my favorite kinds of media (tv, movies, music).
  3. Meeting like-minded people.
  4. Good food.
  5. Shopping.
  6. Reading.
  7. Writing.
  8. Sex.
  9. Animals.
  10. Learning.
  11. Being in nature.
  12. Aromatherapy.
  13. Bubble baths.
  14. Accomplishing something.

Try making a list of things that bring you joy and make it a point to indulge in these things as often as possible. Aim to be realistic, as much as traveling makes me happy, it’s not something I can do on a regular basis.

The goal is to have happiness on tap, so think of things you can do routinely and commit, commit, commit.

Letting Go Of Things That No Longer Serve You

I am an ever-growing person, as everyone should be.

I bet the standards you had for a spouse have changed since you first got introduced to dating and the dream job you swore you wanted as a kid morphed into something else (sorry, you can’t be a football-playing king in space).

Between life experiences and education, you’re destined to change throughout your life–you will go through phases and trends, likes and dislikes, hobbies, and even relationships.

Sometimes we hold on to old patterns and people for the sake of nostalgia. I know I’m certainly guilty of this.

After self-reflecting I realized that I was still holding on to ideas, habits, and relationships that no longer served me. At one point they may have been beneficial but they served no purpose for my present-day life.

Once I became conscious of the weight I was carrying from my old self, I was able to shed my skin to make way a new life of peace. I did this by:

  • Changing my phone number (this helped me control who’s able to contact me. bye bye old friends)
  • Cutting my hair (this helped me with insecurities I was having)
  • Establishing new habits (hiking and yoga in the park does the mind and body good)
  • Upgrading my mindset (goodbye excuses, hello discipline!)

These shifts and updates have allowed me to move forward peacefully in my new chapter and I’ve been on cloud 9 ever since.

It’s ok to change. As much as we’d love to keep everything the same (our habits, our friends, and our way of life) realistically, you can’t.

Holding on to past dead-weight will weigh your future down, you’ll constantly be torn between the past and your future. Don’t allow your past to stunt your future growth.

Take yourself on a journey of self-reflection and assess whether the things in your life are truly serving you: does it have a purpose? are there any benefits in it for you or are you just holding on to this because of how you used to feel about it?

Once you pinpoint the weeds in your garden, rip them out. No questions asked and no explanations needed.

Letting go of things that no longer serve you is a great way to protect your peace because you’re able to move forward with your new life without the distraction of old habits and relationships.

We are more in control of our lives than we give ourselves credit for. If you want a drastic change in your life, that requires sacrifices.

If your aim is to protect your peace and maintain happiness, try putting these things into practice. It may be difficult, and it will take lots of conscious effort, but your peace is worth it. Happiness > Everything.

The Struggle: How To Help Our Future Generations Achieve Financial Success

Knowledge = Power

I remember watching an episode of “Explained”, a show on Netflix that takes a topic and digests it through various resources and interviews from experts.

This episode was about billionaires and featured guests such as Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban, who shared their experiences on being wealthy. In “Explained”, they disclose that ownership, or capital, was a major key to the wealth of billionaires.

“You’re not going to earn a billion dollars pulling down regular income and paying regular income tax on it. It’s just not gonna happen. So ownership is what creates wealth”

Abigail Disney

Naturally, my mind was blown. It made me wonder: do people know about this!? These keys to success? In a world where people make money in their sleep, how is it POSSIBLE that there are still so many hard-working people in the struggle?

In general, people of color tend to be at a disadvantage when it comes to financial education because our elders don’t typically have the tools, insight, or resources needed to pass down to the next generation. But, I’m here to help!

Here are my recommended tips and suggestions on how we can overcome the struggle and set up our future generations for financial success.

1. Ownership

A lot of people believe that good old-fashioned hard work and labor will eventually help them achieve their financial goals.

By a show of hands, how many of us know someone currently working 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet? It turns out that we got it all wrong. The wealthiest people in the world make less money through labor and more through capital.

Capital is anything you own that can make you money, this list includes stocks and real estate.

For example, instead of having your money waste away in a temporary rental apartment where there are no financial benefits, why not save up and own a home (or apartment) that can earn you equity?

If homeownership is too steep of a goal, on a smaller scale, you have stocks. There are apps, such as Public, where you can buy shares into your favorite companies or industries (food, automotive, marijuana). Some shares can be as cheap as $0.20!!

If you’d like to sustain your money and have it stick around for generations to come, look into ownership. There are solutions available for all walks of life.

2. Education is Key

Lack of education causes us to waste our time and money on short-term instruments that don’t come with long-term benefits. Remember, the idea is to spend our money smarter.

I know finance can seem like an intimidating topic to dive into with all the math and fancy terminology, especially without guidance, but it’s alright! When there’s a will, there’s a way and there are alternative resources that make learning about money lite. My favorite? Books.

I recommend Investing for Dummies by Eric Tyson. It breaks down topics like savings, investments, real estate, and the stock market in a way that’s simple and digestible and proves how achieving goals, like becoming a millionaire, isn’t far from reach.

As a matter of fact, according to Eric Tyson, as of the 4th edition of Investing for Dummies, there were approximately 8 million US households that had at LEAST one million dollars.

If the 430-page count scares you away, there are numerous books available on the topic of money, investing, and finance. But, if you’re looking to ingest the info in smaller bits, the next thing I recommend is doing research online.

Most of these sites, like The Penny Hoarder, NerdWallet, and The Budgetnista, also have social media accounts. Just make sure you’re getting your info from an accredited site so you’re not misled under pretenses.

Before you know it, you’ll have the knowledge you need to put your financial plans into action. All that’s left is making a conscious effort to go about things differently.

3. Smarter NOT Harder

This scenario may seem familiar, how many of you know people who have come into large lump sums of money (OK TAX SEASON!) only to blow it on extravagant, superficial things like shoes, clothes, hair, and vacations? Before you know it their money is gone and it’s back to the struggle.

I know it feels good to splurge, but, when you come down from that high, you look up and you’re left with nothing. Why not maximize the potential of these earnings?

For example, instead of holding your money in a standard commercial checking account, where there are little to no benefits (but hella fees), try a money market account that accrues interest!

Nerd wallet has a list of the best money market accounts for 2021, most of which have NO minimum balance requirements.

Have a little one? Instead of treating your child to cash or a gift card, why not buy them a savings bond? Or stocks? Acorns is an app that offers investing accounts for kids which you can open with as little as $5!

These are just some ways you can get the most bang for your buck.

4. Each One, Teach One

Lately, I’ve noticed a more aggressive push towards spreading the gospel of the importance of wealth and establishing credit in the black community. Take music for example. Financial juggernauts (and superstar couple) Jay-Z and Beyonce are good for dropping gems in their lyrics:

Financial freedom my only hope
Fuck livin’ rich and dyin’ broke
I bought some artwork for one million
Two years later, that shit worth two million
Few years later, that shit worth eight million
I can’t wait to give this shit to my children

Jay-Z

Gimme my check, put some respek on my check
Or pay me in equity (Pay me in equity)
Watch me reverse out the debt (Skrrt)

Beyonce

Killer Mike, a rapper and activist from ATL, is doing his part with the creation of Greenwood Bank, an online-based black-owned bank whose mission is to help circulate money in communities of color.

From seminars to how-to books it’s become a lot more trendy to share knowledge about money, finances, and the benefits of passive income. Which is great! We need more mentors in our communities!

If you have the knowledge, pass it down. Sharing is caring 🙂

I have faith that, if we learn from the mistakes of the generations before us by equipping ourselves with knowledge and make a conscious effort to do things differently, in one generation we can turn things around.

Goodbye struggle, hello financial freedom!

Self Reflection? The Soul Searching Power Of A Checkers Game

How one match of checkers turned into a very valuable life lesson

One rainy Sunday morning, I stopped by my Uncle’s house for some coffee, breakfast, and a game of checkers with my Grandmother. Being the reigning checkers’ champ in my own home, I had no doubts whatsoever that I would walk away with the “W”.

Four games later, my Grandmother had four consecutive flawless victories.

No matter what strategies I tried I couldn’t beat her. I was making moves that I felt were clever, adept, and unsurpassable yet and still, my Grandmother was always 1 step ahead of me leaving me awestruck and dumbfounded. Throughout our games, she’d give me helpful tips: pay attention, look at the board before you make a move, and most importantly, concentrate. Seemed like easy enough advice to follow but, try as I might, I kept goofing up.

“You don’t concentrate,” my Grandmother told me, “there were times when you came close, and I was sure you had me beat, but you couldn’t see it because you weren’t paying attention”. Her feedback tripped me up because I was truly and genuinely oblivious to this fact. Of course, I was paying attention! Well, wasn’t I?

Valuable Life Lessons

This experience made me realize that I have a lot of growing to do. You see winning streaks have a tendency to stroke the ego and, for a long time, I was undefeated in the game of checkers. Then, my Grandmother came along and revealed all the chinks in my armor.

She showed me that:

  • I’m overly confident
  • Anxious
  • And quick to rush to judgment

These tips go beyond our checkers’ games. In life, one false move could make or break you. Taking your time and concentrating before executing your movements could be the difference between success and failure. I’m certainly guilty of moving too fast or not doing my best due to my anxiousness, but they say slow and steady win the race, something I should have taken into consideration during our checkers’ games.

The Bottom Line

Look, there’s always going to be someone bigger, better, faster, or stronger than you, but please don’t take it personally. Being beaten at your own game is not a testament to how much you suck, but instead of how much learning and growing you have to do. Therein lies the difference. Don’t cower away or let a bruised ego get the best of you. Instead, use these moments as opportunities for education. Internalize them and ask yourself,

  • Where are you going wrong?
  • How can you be better next time?

I’ve always been told that, in order to be the teacher, you have to be one hell of a student, to be a leader you have got to learn how to follow, and to beat your Grandmother at checkers, apparently you have to pay closer attention.

There are a lot of people running around with unchecked egos and, I personally think, nothing is more dangerous or damaging to your mental growth. Once you give up on learning and growing as a person, you stunt your own potential.

Remember that there is always room for improvement and life moments like this are a reminder of that. Do you feel that you can grow and improve as a person? If you answer no, I’d recommend doing some self-reflection. Pay closer attention to your errors and mistakes, notice any patterns?

Do you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over? Start there and see where it leads you.

As for me, my Grandmother and I have another match of checkers coming up. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Find Your Spark: The Findings of a Lost Soul

Read on to find out how I went from being a “lost soul” to suddenly finding my spark

I was 31 years old when I got my spark. For those of you who have NOT yet seen the movie “Soul”, a spark is your life’s purpose, your inspiration and reason for living. It happened when I was watching HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”. This episode featured a young couple who were looking for their first home together. The coffee shop owners found a home for less than $100K and used the remainder of their budget to renovate their home and give it the personal touch they needed to make the home REALLY theirs. Your girl Joanna did her thing, like always! During the last shot of the couple in their home, they were welcoming friends over and telling the camera crew how delighted they were with their starter home, and that’s when I felt it, that twinge of “I want that“. The feeling of “this would make me happy” was shocking to me, you see because I always thought my life’s purpose was Writing.

By the time I was a teen, I knew I wanted 2 things out of life:

  1. To make enough money to live in one of the most expensive cities in the World
  2. To entertain people.

I have been on a quest of fulfillment ever since. That quest has caused me to start working at age 13. Since then, I’ve made my way through five industries and 12 jobs, all of which left me feeling unfulfilled. It didn’t matter whether they were reputable (some of them were) or if they helped me move out on my own (some of them did), none of them made me happy. That’s because I was making moves for all the wrong reasons. Your job isn’t supposed to be your happiness. Your happiness should exist outside of external instruments. Your life should make you happy and your life should not start and end with your work.

It took me up until now to realize a life of working isn’t living and it’s all I’ve been doing up to now. Investing all of my time and energy into my work and having no air around me. No time for fun, friends, or family just duties and then one day you look up and realize it’s all you have. I don’t want a life of completing tasks. I want to be able to conduct science experiments with my daughter, or to lay in bed with my Husband and talk about the theories of the Universe, or call my best friend and laugh and talk for hours, or visit my Grandmother on a Sunday morning and play checkers while we have our coffee. THIS is living folks. These moments are life.

I’m not telling you to quit your job, I’m encouraging you to make sure you exist outside of it.

Hey, we all have to make a living and frankly, I quite like being a Writer. I enjoy helping and entertaining people with my words but it’s not my life’s purpose because working isn’t living. Rapping JCOLE’s “Can’t Get Enough” with my Husband off of our terrace at 1 in the morning is an example of living (that’s a hook right thurr). Talking to my Mom about recipes I found on Pinterest is living. Reading books with your children, catching up with friends, and taking walks outside are all examples of living. Take the time to be alive. I hope you’ve found your spark. And if not, no worries! As the lovely George Eliot once said:

It’s never too late to be what you might have been

George Eliot

Dear Weirdos: I Love You <3

I found this My Hero Academia hat in Midtown Comics

In a world full of sheep, be a Unicorn

In my 20+ years of living, I’ve searched the World and have yet to find another being like me. I reached out to Dr Strange, asked him to search the endless combinations of all the possibilities that ever were, and I can safely conclude: there’s no one else like me.

You’re looking at a real life Unicorn (actually, I’d like to think myself a Wizard. I’ve got a Hogwarts letter to prove it.)


Sure, there are similar humans. They may resemble me, share a fraction of my personality traits but I have yet to find another person made up of the same facets I have.


I used to think this made me crazy or a freak but then, I came to realize that this just means I am in an island all by myself.

For a while this made me sad.
I walked throughout my life feeling like a black sheep and, as I’ve mentioned, a lack of representation can really make you feel like there’s no space for you in the World.
As a result, it made me uncomfortable in social settings. After all, how do you socialize when you feel like you can relate to no one?
OMG ESPECIALLY WITH WOMEN!
Because my interest in geeky things (i.e anime, video games, cartoons, etc) is always viewed as categorically “male”, I found myself relating to, well, mostly males. This has been a thing for me my entire life.
It’s very rare, and few and far between, that I meet other women with genuine similar interests. I mean honestly, 8/10 our similarities start and end with us being Moms. That’s not to say that I don’t LOVE to talk about my kid, I would just much rather talk about the PS5 launch titles… and the cool accessories Sony’s releasing…and this anime I watched last night…


This, I realize makes me a weirdo to most people.

Hey guys, I’m a weirdo. Nice to meet you!

Weird- a person whose dress or behavior seems strange or eccentric.

Yup, this describes me pretty much perfectly. (They might as well have finished with “whose hair is green and is named Kysheeta”.)

What used to cause discomfort so much so that I would hide aspects of myself from people, is now something I embrace. I love my weirdness. And you know what? You should, too. Your weirdness is not a disability, it’s a Superpower.
Don’t look at yourself as the odd one out, view yourself as the life of the party!
Us weirdos are the light in the room, the talk of the town, the breath of fresh air; I know that’s true for me and I appreciate being known and loved for being 100% me. I want you to feel loved for being you, too! If cosplaying, roleplaying or having rainbow hair brings you joy EMBRACE THAT SHIT! Life is too short to be anything but happy <3. If you need an extra boost of confidence and reassurance to feel comfortable enough to be yourself, look no further than this post. Below, you’ll find a love letter to you.

Until our next adventure…
-Kaillaby

Dear Weirdos: I Love You. A Love Letter

Hey you! Weirdo!
I’m talking to you!
You’re loved, appreciated, trendsetting, and tradition breaking. You’re innovative! Unorthodox! You shake up the town and while you’re at it, paint the town red. You’re a rebel marching to the beat of your own drum.
Do you realize how brave you are?
Look at you, fucking shit up despite it being taboo. Oh, so you’re just going to be out here living your life and minding your business? It’s “fuck-what-a-hater-say”? Ok, I see you!
Look at you, being brave enough to be yourself.
How do you do that?
Walk around with your head held high with not a care in the World?
It feels good, doesn’t it?
Don’t let anyone steal your light, sunshine!
You’re probably an Artist staying up late nights just to impress people with your expressions of existentialism,
or maybe you’re a Scientist picking things apart trying to figure out how things tick just because it fascinates you,
or maybe you’re still in hiding, dressing the part of someone else, walking the walk and talking the talk because you’re still too afraid to be yourself.
Either way, I want you to know that you, yes YOU, are my favorite kind of person.
Why?
Well, it’s because of you that people view the world differently.
You represent you like no one else can and because of your unrelenting willingness to be yourself,
you inspire thought and conversation
which inspires change…which inspires people….which inspires movements!
So keep that freak flag high! And make sure that head follows.

Dear Weirdos: I love you.

I told you I had a Hogwarts letter! Any other HP fans?

The Power of Affirmations

Affirmation Station

Looking for ways to encourage and uplift yourself AND your little one? Read on for recommended books, parenting tips and all things affirmation

I was December-2020-years-old when I realized the power of affirming yourself.

What’s an affirmation? Well, there are a few definitions but, for the sake of this text, it’s “something that is affirmed; a statement or proposition that is declared to be true.” An affirmation can be a statement or a quote. A saying or a phrase. Usually, it’s a form of text that uplifts and/or reassures you. It can be applied to any aspect of your life that needs the reassurance. For me, it was my self confidence: You see, the path to success can be difficult. In the pursuit, it’s easy to focus on all the things that AREN’T happening (yet.). At times, I felt like a failure and I would get really down about myself. So, in an effort to build myself (back) up I started turning to self help books. One of which was Becca Anderson’s “Bad Ass Affirmations” which was gifted to me by my Mother in Law.

(I recommend this book to literally every woman who needs an extra boost of confidence and morale. It has amazing stories and quotes from the Women who have paved the way before us: Marilyn Monroe, Michelle Obama, Harriet Tubman and Beyonce are just a few names that come to mind. As if to say: if SHE can do it, you can do it , too! Girl, get yo’ self one):

In this book, there are spaces dubbed “affirmation stations” which are intended for you to take a break from the text and focus on the affirmation put before you. The idea here is to reiterate the words as many times as possible until you start to believe them. It’s like, saying the words speaks them into existence and they become your reality. I recommend saying them out loud (10 pts for Gryffindor if you say them in the mirror ::smirk::) I will say, I felt a little silly at first but, since nothing else was working for me up until this point, I figured: why the hell not.

AND O.M.G. IT WORKED!

Before I knew it, it became a ritual! A daily habit! Now, whenever I start my day, I recite a custom made list of affirmations to myself and it’s been giving me quite the boost of self esteem.

But before I got to the point where I was saying them to myself, I pondered: “I wonder if there are any insecurities my child struggles with”. After all, she’s a girl just as I was a girl. And, as a girl, I recall being quite insecure. I can’t tell you if my insecurities stem all the way from early childhood, but, by the time I left middle school I had such low self esteem that at one point I developed an eating disorder. Also, just because it wasn’t MY experience shouldn’t imply that it wouldn’t be someone else’s. With this heavy on my mind, I took my 7 year old daughter and asked her a rather difficult question: “Do you have any insecurities?

This was a tough pill to swallow. After all, as a parent you take that on: “Oh no! My child feels bad about themselves. Is it my fault? Is it something I did? Did I do something wrong? How can I do better?” I know, at least for me, I hate knowing that my child is feeling negative or bad about anything. Let alone herself. My first instinct is “how can I make this go away?“. The reality is: sometimes, you can’t. At least not on your own. Ultimately, it’s up to them to decide.

But, you can certainly help.

Affirming them is one way to do that.

After I explained to her what it meant to be insecure, she answered that sometimes she gets down about herself when it comes to her schoolwork. She said that, when she’s called on during her Zoom sessions in school (we opted for remote learning for this school year), she often feels shy or scared.

THIS CAN GO ON NO LONGER!” I thought to myself, and with all the intensity of this guy right here,:

I taught my daughter about affirmations. I told her we would create an “affirmation station” somewhere she could easily access it (we ultimately decided on the first page of her notebook) and, anytime she was feeling down about herself, she was to turn to this page and say the words out.loud. We customized it with some of her favorite anime characters (just look at Ochaco’s adorable smile ^_^), wrote it in bright and vibrant colored sharpees for aesthetic, and customized her affirmations so that they spoke specifically to her and her insecurities. We opted for

You got this!“,

You can do it“,

and my favorite: “You are smart and capable” which was HI KEY giving me Viola Davis vibes:

And with that, I sent my daughter off to continue her day of learning. And you know what? She actually followed suit.

Delilah told me that she was called on during class that very afternoon. She said before she spoke, she took a deep breath, turned to her affirmation page, and said the words out loud just as I instructed. After she was done, it gave her the confidence she needed to speak up during Zoom class and, in a nice, clear and booming voice, she gave the answer her teacher was looking for.

I was so proud. You go, Delilah.

When raising a daughter, I feel like building self-esteem is of the utmost importance; it can avoid so many future issues like having her seek fulfillment through external sources which, of course, will never fill the voids of insecurities. Self esteem is internal and, if we start building them up early, they’ll have the necessary tools they need to carry themselves throughout their teen/adult lives. I recommend affirming all of your little ones, but girls especially. Depending on the severity of the case, affirmations may be used when necessary or reiterated daily. In Delilah’s situation, considering that she was just feeling down about one specific instance, I told her to use it when she needed to. But for me? I do it everyday. And remember, when choosing your affirmations, be sure to:

  • Customize them to adhere specifically to YOUR goals and/or insecurities (most of mine deal with beauty, business and self esteem)
  • Have as many of them as you need, and, say them as many times as you need in order to convince yourself they’re true (most effective when said out loud)

and lastly:

  • Keep them in a place that’s easily accessible and/or viewed (I use a new one everyday as the wallpaper on my phone’s locked screen)

Let’s build up our princes and princesses, young! After all, they’ll be Kings & Queens one day 🙂

Because sometimes you need a reminder that you’re THAT bitch ::hair flip:: My baby got one, too! Look:
Give it up for my babyyyyyy ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

*Happiness-over-everything is an affiliate of Amazon.com. Any purchases made through links on the site may result in compensation. Thank you for your support!

The Inconvenience of Being Sad

Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on or a person to turn to for emotional support. Here, I give my take on sadness and how, at times, it feels like a burden or an inconvenience.

Ever had a moment where you were breaking down and in need of healing? There you are in your dark place and you think of reaching out to someone so you draft a text. You re-read your outcry and pause only to delete it.

Or worse, you find the courage to call and don’t get an answer?

I feel like there’s never a convenient time to be sad.

I’m not alone.

A lot of people feel their sadness is a burden.

A Tragic Tale

A year ago, my brother committed suicide. I still remember the day I found out: It must’ve been 7 o’clock in the morning because I was getting my daughter ready for school when I got a phone call that my brother died. The caller found out through a series of reposts, shares, and “r.i.p”s on Facebook. I was numb. I didn’t couldn’t react.

Part of it was the shock of disbelief. The other part was holding out until I could confirm what happened to him.

I thanked the caller and reached out to the only person that I knew would have the answers: my father.

I remember making my way to the kitchen and asking him what happened and that’s when he told me my brother, Ronald, had shot himself.

I managed to let out an “oh my God, what!?” and then I completely lost it.

All of my calm, cool composure completely melted away; it didn’t matter that I was a Mom or that it was a weekday, or that I had plans for my morning. I completely lost myself to my heartbreak.

Suddenly, my daughter walked into the room and asked what happened and her voice brought me back to the reality that this was not the time and place to cry and break. I had a child who was watching and this was not a convenient time to be sad. I tried to ask for space or privacy but it was too late, the mask had melted away and she had already been a witness.

The Aftermath

Losing a loved one to suicide leaves you with a lot of unanswered questions and doubt:

Did I love them enough?

Should I have tried harder to make them feel loved?

You’re left wondering where you failed and what you could should have done better.

I always think about his life leading up to that point. Being a male of color, I would imagine that it was hard for him to find a space for his sadness.

I wonder how many times he tried to reach out or confess his sadness only to be rejected or overlooked.

So many people are suffering and they keep this suffering to themselves out of fear of being a burden or not being taken seriously. How many outcries are ignored only to lead to substance abuse or worse: suicide? I feel like this is especially true for men of color whose portrayal of masculinity is ofttimes chucked up to maintaining a tough exterior; they are raised to believe that feelings don’t matter. Emotions are considered “feminine” and a sign of weakness. In my experience, they are taught that emotion threatens the idea of “being a man”.

But nothing is further than the truth.

Allowing yourself to feel takes bravery. Anyone can pretend. It takes courage to stay true to yourself. It takes courage to reach out for help.

Life Through Brand New Eyes

Since this experience, I take sadness/depression a lot more seriously and have noticed that people take the sadness of others very personally; being angry or peeved when they don’t hear from people on their time all the while not knowing what’s happening behind closed doors.

Or rolling their eyes whenever there’s a shift in tone and someone tries to vent about what they have going on.

This can impact a person negatively and lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment, making them feel like they should keep their feelings to themselves. I realize that it’s hard for people to think outside of their existence and being empathetic is a talent too few possess.

In a time where I was struggling with my own crisis’, I have lost friends due to my absence and lack of communication. I wish they would’ve taken the time to reach out instead of assuming it was an attack on their character.

You’re Not Alone

Whether it’s one in the morning or one in the afternoon, I hope that you have someone you can turn to. Everyone should have at least one person: whether it be your friend, a relative, or a licensed professional. When things are really bad? Use as many lifelines as you need. Depending on the severity of the crisis, I may reach out to all or a combination of the 3. Because I’m not alone. Life exists outside of those moments of turmoil and it’s important to be reminded of that.

So keep your head up! Put your best foot forward and in the event of sadness, know that you’re not a burden. Your feelings matter and you have options. There are people that will/can/do love and support you.

Dream In Art

I swear, if I were a Pokemon, I’d be a Creative type ❤

Does anyone else dream in art?

In my daydreams, I see flash mobs. Every time I hear one of my favorite songs, I picture myself dancing. But not just me fuckin’ it up on the dance floor.

Na, it’s a whole extravaganza. A visual. It’s lights, a stage, background dancers performing whole routines (ON TIME); it’s beautiful, symmetrical, and breath-taking. It gives me chills. It brings tears to my eyes. It puts a smile on my face. I can’t help it, I love to express.

I feel like I have so much to say and where words fail, it comes out in the form of art: Dancing. Writing. “Singing” (which is what I claim I do when I karaoke. But BITCH when I karaoke you can’t tell me I’m not Whitney) whatever the form, I love to express. Perform. I stopped being afraid of an audience a long time ago. That thing that people have that makes them feel embarrassed? Whatever part of the brain that is, I’ve done away with it. Numbed Overrode it. (which is a dope nod to how awesome my willpower is).

Art makes people happy, or at the very least, inspires emotion! Seeing a dope canvas, hearing a poppin’ song, watching a thought-provoking movie! I, too, like to make people happy and people experience happiness when they’re entertained. I am willing to be the jester at people’s expense. People who are willing to put themselves in front of an audience just to make people feel good are my favorite kinds of people. This reminds me of a story…

A Trip Down Memory Lane

In 2019, my family and I went on a family vacation on a Carnival Cruise Line (The Liberty; back when it wasn’t controversial to do things like that) and it was the last night of the vacation.

Our very boisterous, extremely entertaining cruise Director Cookie managed to gather the ENTIRE cruise ship in the main deck lobby for a night of trivia and sing-alongs. That’s. How. Good. He was at his job. Cookie for president is all I’m saying… anywho, so there we are. In this luminous, glossy, regal decorated lobby standing together as one, 4 songs in, when the song that comes up next is Whitney Houston’s “I’ll Always Love You”.

There stood Cookie on the bar top with his best rendition of Whitney Houston’s iconic “Body Guard”. Whitney hit us with the “And above all this, I wish you love…”. He asked for participation from the crowd…

We all showed up, showed out, and at the top of the lungs we let out an “And Iiiiiiiiiiiiiii”.The entire cruise rang with the sound of our voices. It was beautiful. Like something out of a movie. Or a concert. We gave the performance of our lives. We gave it everything we didn’t have. Riffs and all. And for a moment, nothing else mattered. It was just us, Cookie, the music and the wide-open ocean. I cried tears of joy. It will go down in history as one of the best experiences of my life. This is what art provides for people: once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

All of the greatest showcases of art started off as dreams. That dream turned into an idea. And that idea was manifested and displayed before you. Someone’s dream is now your favorite: song, musical, movie, book, tv show. This very blog was once a dream of mine; I dreamed of using my words to reach people by vocalizing my thoughts and feelings because I just knew in my heart of hearts that there must be people in the world who share them! I have more dreams that I will turn into art someday in the form of books, scripts, and choreography to name a few. It’s just a matter of putting these dreams into words. So far all of my artists with their heads in the clouds: keep dreaming! Keep hope alive! Somewhere there is an audience for you waiting for you to pour your (he)art out.

What are some dreams of yours that you can’t wait to turn into reality? For me, it’s writing my first book ^.^ Share your dreams in the comments below >>>>

The Value Of Representation

I dub thee: The Infamous

I recently ran into a fellow Blerd at a local Dunkin Donuts and O.M.G he made me feel like a rock star! So, this is what representation does for people?

Last week, I took a trip to my job’s local Dunkin Donuts; it was about 2 o’clock in the afternoon and, having worked since 9:00am, I was in dire need of a pick-me-up. I was donning my infamous denim jacket: the jacket I personalized a few summers ago to feature my favorite pop culture buttons and pins (mainly from comics, anime, movies and video games). A little something I made purely for fun at the time as a form of expression for my inner nerd-dom. As I made my way to the cashier, there was a customer by the door waiting for his order: an African American male who looked to be in his late teens/early 20s. He took notice of the personalizations and proceeded to fanboy.so.hard. He fanatically asked if I would be so kind as to let him ogle at the back of it. As he made his way down, he noted all of his favorite characters:”Edward Scissor Hands!”, “OH MY GOD Jack Skellington!!” “SAILOR MOON!”. He pulled back his shirt sleeve to reveal an anime-themed tattoo on his forearm. “I’m a nerd, too!” He shared. By then, it was time to grab his order. He grabbed his coffee and said to the barista: “NIGGA! You know we go to Comic-Con! We love that shit!” as if their friendship existed outside of their coffee interactions. As the barista lectured him about his use of the word “Nigga“, he made his way out of the door. Before departing he turned to me and, with a smile, said “Yo, Thank you! That made my day!” then proceeded to leave riding the high that my jacket gave him: This. This is why.

Representation is SO important.

There’s just something about seeing yourself in someone else that makes you feel: heard. seen. represented.

It’s the feeling I get when I see other BLERDS like @Kieraplease on IG or so-called “awkward black girls” like Issa Rae. A sense of community and kinship. Seeing people like you can do wonders for your self-esteem.

Knowing that you’re not alone. That you’re apart of something bigger.

Not seeing yourself on mainstream platforms has a way of making you feel like you don’t exist. Like you’re the only one in the World. And besides, the media only portrays what’s popular and in the 90s – the early 2000s (which is when I grew up) being a black nerd was NOT it. That’s ESPECIALLY true for girls. Thank the Universe for Aisha Tyler. I’d be surprised *if you could name me 3 blerds from the 90s. I’ll wait…

During this time, according to mainstream media, black girls were: strong, fashionable, funky, conscious, sexy, classy, maternal, goofy, temperamental. All lovely adjectives. None of which translates to nerdy. And yet here I was: a girl. black. and nerdy.

I was left asking: where are the other black girls who liked anime? Where are the black girls who crushed on Future Trunks? (I called dibs. he’s mine. you can’t have him) Who had anime theme songs on their iPods ?(haha I’m aging myself). Who could kick their friend’s asses in Tekken? Who would stay up late on a school night to watch the Toonami lineup? Who could hold their own in a PS vs Xbox debate? (ijs, if you’re team Xbox you’re on the losing side). Did it stop and end in my middle school classroom!?

For years, I didn’t think I had a place in the world. I walked around just feeling like a black sheep: I was considered too white to be black. Black-black so I couldn’t be white. The truth is I believed I didn’t fit in anywhere because I didn’t grow up seeing people like me. Due to lack of representation, people would see me and not know how to categorize me. Often, they would just default me to “tomboy”. At one point, I remember being asked if I was gay before I knew what being gay was. I guess displaying Dragonball Z printouts on your bedroom walls and binders while holing yourself in your room for countless hours playing Donkey Kong Country on your hand-me-down SNES wasn’t considered “feminine”? Now, thanks to Social Media platforms like: IG, Pinterest, and Tumblr, I feel like there’s (finally) a space for people like me! It’s such a breath of fresh air to see people like me cosplaying, gaming , and having debates over anime titles. I’m not an alien after all!

From IG pages like @blerdover and *@blerdofficial to actresses like Jessica Williams and musicians like Travis Scott: the world is finally getting a glimpse of the nerdy black scene. The “alternative” black kid: the awkward, geeky, nerdy, introverted, Naruto running, ramen eating, Harry Potter obsessing, rage quitting crowd that has been here all along. Because it does exist. We have been existing. We were just denied access by the gatekeepers who are determined to portray people of color in a certain light.

But fear not Blerds, it’s ok. Why? Because I am here. (If you read that in All Might’s voice, then you are in the right place.)

*Got your list of 3? Drop ’em in the comments below

*You can check out more blerd content here: https://www.blerd.com

Trusting YOUR Process

Thanks for believing in me < 3

Why it’s 100% necessary to be patient with yourself and stop monitoring the success of other people. Oh, the places you’ll go…


In the internet age, it’s hard not to compare yourself to everyone else– you see the glorified pics, the constant portrayal of success. How can one witness these things and not start self-reflecting about where they have (or haven’t) accomplished.

It’s happened to me.

Once upon a time, I took a hiatus from social media because it wasn’t breeding inspiration. It started to become a reflection of all the things I wasn’t doing and it showed me all the goals I wanted to achieve but couldn’t.

I started to get jealous and envious. I began to not have love and appreciation for the things I had going on because I was too busy trying to live someone else’s life.

That’s where I went wrong.

Instead of monitoring and focusing on my own success, I was distracted by the paths of other people. I found myself checking the pages of people with more established followings and endorsement deals thinking to myself how could I be like them? What are they doing that I’m not doing?

Who can relate?

Ladies: how many times have you seen a picture or a video of a trending woman and started to think about all of the improvements you needed to make?

How your body could be: thinner, thicker, toner. Your hair could be longer, fuller, healthier.

You get swallowed by the popularity contest and lose yourself in light of being liked; not knowing all the while what their real-life experience is like. You’re just caught up in the glorified image that’s portrayed online.

Don’t lose Yourself in light of being liked #trustyourprocess

Being someone new on the scene, I was definitely tempted by the bells and whistles that would take me to faster stardom: I considered playing up my sexiness, being a brand ambassador for an online fashion boutique, and thought about switching to lanes that had nothing to do with my art just to get attention.

It was my best friend that told me to keep my eye on the prize. She recommended that I stick to what makes me an individual versus trying to hop on the bandwagon. It reminded me of that scene in A Star Is Born where Bradley Cooper is giving Lady Gaga advice on her stardom, he says:

If you don’t dig deep into your fuckin’ soul you won’t have legs. I’m just telling you that. If you don’t tell the truth out there you’re fucked. All you got is you and what you have to say to people and they are listening right now and they are not going to be listening forever. Trust me. So you gotta grab it and you don’t apologise or worry about why they’re listening or how long they’re gonna be listening for. You just tell them what you want to say.

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

I realize now that people aren’t following me on social media and coming to my website because I’m like someone else: you’re here for me.

There was something about me that interested you and it’s that exchange that’s so important!

I don’t want to waste any time or energy on trends. After a while, I’d exhaust all of my efforts just trying to keep up. It would mean so much more to be noticed for being me ^_^

The focus should be on figuring out what I could do better not how I can be like other people.

Remember that!

One can easily get caught up in the scene but remember that even the trendsetters were once where you are now: in a space trying to figure out their path to success.

They figured out a way that works best for them, now it’s up to you to pave the way for yourself. Comparing your process to that of others is just counterproductive.

Find your “it” factor and construct a plan on how to make it work for you!

  • Try a vision board.
  • Check-in with yourself, often.

Don’t forget to add the energy!