5 Ways Men Can Love Themselves Better

5 Ways Men Can Love Themselves Better

When I did my self-love workshop back in March, a couple of my guy friends came through and I learned something interesting: Men really don’t discuss self-love nor are they taught how to have love for themselves. This self-love phenomenon is primarily preached to women, meanwhile men just kinda slip through the cracks.

That’s not fair to me. I think both men and women need to commit to loving themselves better but the onus always falls on women. Nobody can do the work for you, you have to learn how to do the work yourself.

Here’s 5 ways you can love yourself better, King.

5. Clip Those Nasty Ass Fingernails

I’ll give it to you straight: There is nothing more disgusting than a guy with nasty ass fingernails who always wants to stick his fingers inside of you. CLIP. THOSE. SHITS!

One time I dated a guy who kept his fingernails long so he could break down a blunt better and whew chile, the the yeast infections. While we love men who work with their hands, we also love men who take care of their hands too. Wash them, clip them, hell go get a manicure if you feel so inclined. Nobody has time to be going to the doctor just because you think it’s okay to have backwoods, flamin’ hot, and dirt residue underneath your nails.

Clip yo shit dawg.

4. Do Some Exercise

I’m no fitness guru at all (hell, I wanna cancel my gym membership RIGHT NOW), but I think a great way to show that you love yourself is when you take care of your body. I’ve discovered that not only does working out help with stamina during sex (because let’s be honest, y’all should not be 27 doing the same three positions and finished in 20 minutes) but when you look good….you feel good. Can’t afford a gym membership? No worries! Youtube has a bunch of at home workouts you can do.

Take care of your body King.

3. Be Mindful of What You Consume

And I’m not just talking about food here. Evaluate who’s around you. Evaluate what you are listening to. What are you reading? What messages about life, women, money, self development, etc are being preached to you? How much time do you spend on social media vs the time that you spend with yourself? Your mind is so important, watch what you put in it.

2. Honor Your Emotions

This is tricky territory because most men think that being a man and being emotionally competent just don’t mix. When y’all are allowed to express emotions, society has said that the only ones that are acceptable are anger or violence. I’m here to tell you that it is okay to feel shit. Misogyny and patriarchy has been embedded in all of us to say that when you express yourself, it means that you are soft, you a bitch, or God forbid, you’re gay… *eye roll*

Then you become this sort of robot. You got all these walls built up. You have issues communicating in your partnerships you have with women, because some women (actually, a lot of us) have internalized misogyny and the moment you open up your mouth, some women will accuse you of being over emotional. To me, there’s no such thing as being over emotional but there is such thing as not properly handling your emotions.

I say all this to say: Take the time to self reflect so you can become self aware. I don’t care where you start, just start. After a while, we become too old to chalk up character flaws as “this is just how I am.”

Do the work, even if it’s hard… that’s one of the ways you know you truly love yourself.

1. Get Tested

I am a firm believer that when you truly love yourself, you take care of your body.

I don’t understand that how, in the year of 2018, there are so many men who don’t know their STD status. Is ignorance truly bliss? Every sexually active male on this earth needs to have a standard check up every three months. Even if you are in a monogamous relationship, you AND your partner should be getting tested. For example, does your lady constantly get UTI’s, yeast infections, or BV? Then it HAS to be something about you that’s knocking her PH level off. Go to the doctor bro. I understand that there is a stigma surrounding STD’s and honestly sex education in America is trash but STILL. GO TO THE DOCTOR BRO.

  • WHEN YOU CATCH A NEW BODY, GO.
  • WHEN YOU GO BACK TO AN OLD BODY GO.

Sure, you can use condoms and what not, but to be honest, a lot of y’all don’t AND I’m pretty sure you’re not giving or receiving oral sex with dental dams and condoms on. Or did y’all forget that sexally transmitted infections can get passed orally as well?

Also, it’s not really about the number of sexual partners you have anymore, but it is about the number of risky behaviors you engage in. A lot of men are asymptomatic, which means even if you have something like chlamydia, gonorrhea, etc, the shit won’t show up! You can catch something from a sexual encounter you had with someone three months ago, not know it and pass it on to a new partner three months later.

It is SO important to get tested. At least every three months Kings.

Uninsured? Well look, google the nearest free or reduced public health clinic in your area. I know for a fact that Planned Parenthood services men and some other clinics out here have free testing days.

You know you truly love yourself when you prioritize you and your partner’s sexual health. If you are currently fucking someone who feels a type of way when you ask them to go get tested, that’s a clear sign that you shouldn’t be fucking them.

Moral of the story, go get tested Kings!

 


I hope you all enjoyed my 5 tips but in no way is this list exhaustive! If you have something to add, please comment below!

Love,

Kia ♥

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Work While You Wait

working while you wait

I wake up in the morning to notifications of my account being overdrawn on top of a $34 fee being added as if I have the actual money in my account to pay them + the amount of what was overdrawn. ( @ Banks, specifically @ChaseBank, why do ya’ll do that dumb ass shit?)

I shake my head in disgust, because I’m not sure what the fuck my life has come to. Over the past year, I’ve been underemployed and at the current moment of writing this, I am unemployed. While it has not been this way for long, I will say this: it is expensive as hell to be broke. Although Twitter has said that we shouldn’t call ourselves broke, it is simply what I am.

Broke as in not having it.

As in can’t afford to pay my rent on time cuz ain’t no income coming in.

As in having to spend money I don’t have on transportation.

As in can’t afford to go on trips with my friends because ain’t no extra money.

As in when I do get money, it has to go to bills, rent, and other important miscellaneous items. (Which reminds me, why is it that when you’re in a financial struggle, the wildest, most random shit goes wrong?)

This constant cycle has been draining to say the least.

Job app after the job app. Interview after interview…. and thus far, nothing.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been wondering how my usually positive ass is supposed to stay positive in a time like this? This shit is HARD as FUCK! My anxiety has been through the roof every other week and I’m starting to think it’s unhealthy for me to go through as many emotions as I do in a day. The crazy part about it is that this isn’t my first go-round with not having a stable paycheck. I’ve been unemployed a few times before, but this time just feels different. Being broke in college is normal because even if you don’t have a stable job you at least get a refund check every semester which can pay your rent up for 6 months and then you receive another one for the next 6 months.

But being financially unstable as an adult? Without the safety net of college?

Yeah, this shit feels different. And not a good different. Different as in post-grad depression creeps back in, different as in feeling like you haven’t mastered being an adult yet, different like you’re the odd one out when most of your friends make more money than you.

As I said, staying my positive self has been hard as hell these last few weeks… some days I didn’t want to get out the bed but if I stayed in the house, I would let my anxious thoughts take over and find myself in a crying fit, stressed as hell about my situation. When I was working at the school last year, I was forced to learn how to budget, start a little savings, etc. But I don’t care what the financial experts say, it’s hard as hell to keep that going when you don’t have a lot to begin with in the first place. Every day since I have been back on the job hunt, I’ve asked myself what is a girl supposed to do?

Then the message came loud and clear: WORK WHILE YOU WAIT.

So as we all know, my optimistic and pessimistic side are constantly at war with each other, so at first I’m like… well how the hell am I supposed to do that?  

Then I thought about the very thing that has kept me going…. this blog! This blog that I have had the pleasure of refining, rebranding, pouring my heart into for the last 6 years, is MY WORK.

My self-love workshop that I recently got paid to host, IS MY WORK.

Becoming the best version of myself each day, IS MY WORK.

The work I do for Culture, IS MY WORK.

The work I do for Live Young, IS MY WORK.

I have been working all this time, but have been too fixated on the negativity that I couldn’t see that everything I need is already in front of me.

You have to work while you wait.

Even if that means not having a stable place to clock in yet.

I have always said that I want to be able to be a full time blogger one day. Imagine me realizing that this unemployed period is merely just practice for me. I’m not a full time entrepreneur yet, but I have observed enough in my life to know that every day is not going to be a day where you make money. Entrepreneurship is up and down and that’s okay. It’s what you do during the waiting period that matters. For me this looks like:

Waking up early (I’m up at least by 6AM everyday)

Checking my emails.

Working on my marketing plan for #WriteYourselfALoveLetterChallenge (cuz look, if I can get paid for it once then that means I can get paid for it again and again) 

Running errands.

Write, write, write.

Scheduling social media posts and designing campaign strategies. 

Promoting my work.

Resting, (I don’t have to be on go mode all the time.)

Filling out job apps. 

Reaching out to mentors. 

The list really goes on.

Maybe you’re in the same predicament as me: underemployed or unemployed and waiting on something stable to come through. You may find yourself feeling down and out about this, and you know what? That’s okay. This is normal. But don’t DWELL there.

I want you to think about what you’re good at… What projects have you been putting off? What self-work have you been neglecting? What are ways that you can get this money outside of a job? (legally, lol) What updates need to be made to your resume?

One day last week for two days straight I found myself in a crying fit, stressed about my situation. The next day I got my ass up and went back to work. Allow yourself to feel what you feel but I beg you not to stay there. Find you some positive affirmations and repeat them to yourself until you start to believe them.

Most importantly, don’t forget to work while you wait. Something will come through and understand that the work you do now sets up the alignment for that. Sending love and light to  all those who are going through a tough financial time right now.

Love,

Kia giphy

P.S. If you liked this post and felt inspired by it… click these ads on my page lol or send a love offering to my Cash App $KiaSmithWrites.

Butterflies and Fireflies

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Aside from wondering where I’ve been, I’m sure the title of this blog post is throwing you off as well LOL.

I know its weird. Bare with me.

This summer, I took a much needed hiatus from creating to work on myself– I mean really work on me.  

Compared to other summers (especially last summer), Summer 2018 wasn’t as bad as I slightly anticipated it to be. My summers are always humbling and while I of course had my normal bout of the broke-ass-millennial blues, these last three months were filled with laughter, love, and lots of twerking of course.

Around the last two weeks of July, a shift happened. Some may say it’s because all the planets went into retrograde but even if you aren’t into astrology, you can’t deny that the latter half of this summer (may have) shifted something inside you, too.

Ironically, it was the falling out with a lover of mine that helped me start this process of becoming my best self. A process that in the past, that I either avoided or simply put off time and time again. I decided that before I would point the fingers at anyone else, I would first start putting a mirror on my own self.

I’m not sure why the hell I would do that, because boyyyyyy did I learn some shit about myself that I didn’t like!

I’ve always been naturally self-reflective, but the past six weeks have been mind-boggling. I learned that not only do I possess toxic tendencies but I also have unresolved trauma just like everyone else.

Shocking right?!

I spent all of August going through lots of learning and unlearning a bunch of different shit. This process was similar to the transformation process that a caterpillar goes through to become a beautiful butterfly.

While it seems effortless, I’m here to say that transforming yourself is hard. It’s hard secluding yourself for days and weeks at a time. It’s hard having difficult convos with the ones you love. It’s hard creating, sticking to, and maintaining boundaries. It’s hard to call yourself out on your own shit.

But I did it. And I’m still doing it.

In July, I was finally able to write about a traumatic situation that happened last year. Not publicly on this blog, but within the pages of my journal, which was a difficult task. But on the anniversary of the situation, I wrote. I talked about it with loved ones. I was able to acknowledge my feelings about it and for once, I didn’t suppress my emotions. This is HUGE for me!

From then, I decided that August was a month of becoming better: I was focused on releasing, resetting, unlearning shit, speaking up, taking accountability for my own part in shit, being intentional, healing, expanding my mind, getting out my comfort zone, getting out my own way, resting, and finding ways to develop better habits.

Aside from journaling in my mental health journal (a journal I made strictly for the things I think, revelations about my healing process, etc) I also have been reading two books: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Universe Has Your Back. I got these from my local library but y’all can find them on Amazon or whatever.

None of this happened overnight and a lot of this is still a work in progress. But for once, I’m genuinely proud of myself for the changes I’ve been making. I never felt this way about myself before. It’s like I’m rooting for myself even when shit isn’t going my way. I FEEL like a different person and to be honest y’all….. it’s such a great feeling.

Of course though, my life is merely just a rollercoaster ride lol. It’s been moments where I’ve felt totally stuck and confused, it’s been moments where I’ve known exactly what to do and when to do it.

September is finally here and I’m most excited that I have inspiration to write again. Not only that, I’m excited about the things I’ve decided to focus on. While continuing the work that started six weeks ago, I recently tweeted that September is also about:

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It is so important for me to not only pray on these things but also put the work behind it.

Things ain’t perfect but they don’t have to be when you are truly doing the work.

I am allowing myself to transform into the butterfly that I know I am, while maintaining hope like the fireflies of the world symbolize.

If that’s not something worth celebrating, then I don’t know what is.

XOXOXO,

Kia giphy.gif

Diamond In Doses: An Interview With The Bad Girl of Blogging

Bold, brown-skinned and armed with plenty of shit to say, Diamond Bell is a 25-year-old lifestyle blogger from Chicago who has taken social media by storm with her words, grit and humor.

My discovery of Diamond came over six months ago, when a mutual friend of ours DM’d me her page on Snapchat and said that he would love to see us collab. Ever so curious about new bloggers, I read one of her posts and fell in love. As a writer, I love when other writers are starting blogs, staying consistent and constantly improving their craft.

Recently, I got a chance to sit down with my favorite Bad Girl during her anniversary weekend where she hosted Diamond’s Dosage LIVE: a talkshow style event where she and the audience discussed various aspects of the double standard from her recent blog series.

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Photos by Tye Moores | @photyegrapher| @photyegraphy

Since June 6, 2017 Diamond has officially been a blogger but says her introduction to the blog world wasn’t traditional. “I feel bad when I say I haven’t been writing all of these years,” she says. ” However, I’ve always been a reader, I’ve always been a writer. I love research, I’m that person that will analyze people, places, things.”

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“I started my blog because I wanted to see what people think and how they feel about things.” – Diamond Bell | Photo by Tye Moores | @photyegraphy

Stirring up controversy, laughs, and endless conversation when she drops a post, Diamond says while she appreciates the support and engagement, sometimes she feels that the hyper-visibility she has now is a bit much.

“I feel like I can’t tweet in peace anymore!” she exclaims before shaking her head and letting out a small laugh. “I feel like I get trolled often because since I blog now, people are paying attention to my page and if I say ANYTHING, people are at my throat about it. But those are the things that come with it, ” she wistfully says.

Blogger or not, the battle between our lower selves versus our higher selves is one we all deal with all too well. One minute, she wants to spit on bitches, the next minute its peace and love and rainbows. One may wonder how she balances the opposites of her personality so well?

“Every day, I pray for peace and balance ,” she says. “I’m learning now to think before I react. I have to think about this, because words are powerful.”

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Diamond and I | Photo by Tye Moores

Balance is key and another key to staying grounded and balanced for Diamond is the women she chooses to surround herself with.

“Be yourself,” she advises. “The girls who come along with that will find comfort in that because you are what you attract at the end of the day. So, if you’re a person of light and love then you will attract light and love in your friends as well.”

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“You don’t want any yes men around you. You need friends that will be honest enough to tell you when you’re tweaking” | Photo by Tye Moores | @photyegraphy

Diamond is a woman with big dreams– dreams that ascend beyond her blog. In addition to planning a weekend full of events to celebrate her one-year anniversary  (including her sold out live blogging forum) she also jet-setted to Los Angeles to participate in some BET Weekend activities.

“L.A. taught me that the world is bigger than me. In a world where everyone is trying to find their own place, I don’t. I make my own place,” she says.

For more information on Diamond and where you can get your next dose, visit her website www.diamondsdosage.com & follow her on Instagram and Twitter @DiamondsDosage

Self-Love Discoveries

bonnie & Carole (1)

Although I talk about it a lot, I’m no expert when it comes to this journey of finding self-love. None of us are really. We are all just mere works in progress, hoping & wishing that one day we will look back on our lives and hope that we got it right.

Every so often, I like to do pulse checks. Where am I in this journey? How much have I grown? What more do I have left to improve? I’ll admit, I get weary from time to time. It’s not easy trying to love me… ALL OF ME….ALL THE TIME. Accepting these flaws and imperfections. Coming to terms with the fact that once upon a time I’ve moved funny, did scandalous shit and hurt not only myself but some innocent people all because I refused to do the work of loving myself. Understanding that I have duality as a person is some wild ass shit.

The most recent pulse check came about a month ago, when my little cousin came to visit me on a Saturday afternoon. As the older cousin, I am the example that my younger ones look to when it comes to stories about life and love. I try to be as transparent as possible– mostly to show them that I’m not as perfect as they think but also so they will make less dumb ass decisions than I did.

Anyways, I was asked about an old situation– a common story about a guy I loved too much and a girl I damn near hated cuz I wasn’t in the position that she was in, with this guy. Lines were crossed, bridges were burned and to this day I am embarrassed at the way I once acted. Jealous, extra and eventually emotionally drained from the situation, I had to take a step back and breathe. Get away, literally and figuratively so I could find myself again and stop tweaking.

I explained to baby cousin that my role in that situation wasn’t innocent and that ultimately, it’s pointless to create a beef with another woman simply because you desire to be a man’s object of affection. The real tea is that these niggas will do what they want with whom they want. That’s why it’s important to choose you. Baby cousin fell silent, perhaps because the wheels were turning in her head or maybe she took it to heart what I had to say. Once I said that it kind of felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.

I’m hard on myself when it comes to this journey of self-love. As I said at the beginning of this post, I’m no expert when it comes to this shit and to be honest I’m still out here making dumb ass decisions. But at that moment during that conversation, I knew that I had grown.

So in lieu of doing my pulse check, here are a few things I discovered about myself so far:

Self-love is knowing that who you are, just as you are is enough.

I’ve struggled with trying to turn myself into everything I thought a man wanted me to be only to find out that no matter what they will never be satisfied and secondly… I’m enough. I don’t need to crouch myself into anyone else’s desires, the right person for me will accept me just as I am. Because who I am is enough.

Self-love is allowing yourself to love those who have once hurt you but accepting that it is okay to handle those same people with a long-handled spoon.

I talk and tweet a lot about boundaries– the importance of setting them, keeping them and maintaining them, especially when it comes to people we love. It’s inevitable to get hurt, but you don’t have to allow the same hurt to happen over and over again.

Self-love is prioritizing healing.

The truth is, I could’ve given up on love a long time ago. When heartbroken, people tend to make these dramatic ass proclamations that they will never open up or love again. I’ve said those same things once before but in reality, I am a hopeless romantic. In order to get the love and long-lasting partnership I truly desire, I had to prioritize my healing process. I was never in control of what happened to me but I am in control of how I respond to it and how I will try to move forward. I spent a long ass time being bitter and truth be told, that’s not a good look on me. Healing is now my priority. I’m trying to truly live my best life and love myself fiercely through it all.

Self-love is knowing that my journey is not going to be easy. It won’t look like anyone else’s. But in the end it will be worth it.

I imagine myself being this grown ass woman who just has it together on the self-love tip: I don’t compromise myself for anyone, I don’t settle for less than I deserve, I honor my mind, body, and spirit, AND I stick to the boundaries I have created for myself. This woman isn’t a perfect woman by a long shot and this journey has been anything but smooth. It won’t look like the next woman’s either… but I know it will be worth it. The hardest things we desire to achieve are usually hard and I am no stranger to hard work!

Moral of the story…

I’m no expert. I’m still working on becoming my best self and loving me every step of the way. However, it does feel great to finally notice some growth.

Be nice to yourself & don’t forget to take note of your own self love discoveries.

Love,

Kia

Post Grad Peace

Peace

“It’s funny to look back and see how much you’ve grown, even over the course of one short year. The things you thought were impossible and you would never survive, somehow you did.”

When I think of those words, I think about how the month of May is full of graduations, Mother’s Day celebrations, engagements and baby showers, and it is also a month for me to celebrate the fact that I also graduated college one year ago.

 

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Me, a graduate.

I remember starting that final semester at SIU feeling a mix of emotions, mostly nervous because I didn’t know what the hell I had in store after I crossed the stage on May 13th of last year. I wrote a LOT about my feelings toward senior year, starting with some affirmations, on to encouraging words for me and my fellow classmates,  to feeling as if I was a complete failure for not knowing exactly what my next move was, even though only a couple weeks had passed since I crossed the stage.

Needless to say, I was a mess.

I couldn’t understand how or why I was feeling so many emotions at once and it drove me crazy!

So one day I remember being outside a bar venting to someone about how stagnant and frustrated I was still being “stuck” in Carbondale and the next day I packed a few things and moved back to Chicago.

I don’t regret anything but I do NOT advise leaving your college town BEFORE your lease is up. Unless you have a job or internship. I had neither and while I am GRATEFUL that I had some friends who allowed me in their space last year, bouncing from house to house is not cute. I know now that waiting until August to leave wouldn’t have killed me.

However, a mixture of being impulsive as fuck + broke as fuck had me feeling like I just HAD to move. In reality, all I really needed to do was just relax.

Relax because I worked hard as fuck to get my degree.

Relax because not doing so brought more anxiety.

Relax because I simply deserved to.

Something I noticed is that most of us college grads have a hard time reveling in our moments often. All summer I searched for the why behind that feeling and realized that it is because we are so used to the routine of constantly doing SOMETHING. The idea of doing nothing or simply having nothing to do scares us. So in reality, I was SCARED this time last year. My impulsiveness mixed with my fear wouldn’t allow me to relax and I just had to figure out what was next for me.

When I popped back into Chicago, the irony is that I immediately felt out of place here as well. Being gone for 5 years and not coming home longer than two weeks in a summer will do it to you. I felt even crazier that while I felt “stagnant” in Carbondale I felt so lost in Chicago. I began to wonder would I ever truly feel satisfied? That question was on my mind a lot for the past year.

As I searched for an answer, I had to find a job because unlike Carbondale, Chicago living is NOT cheap. Everything costs from getting around to buying groceries and I hated depending on others for anything. I utilized my network and found a couple jobs through this program that didn’t have shit to do with what I got my degree in, but hey it was something. Desperation will do that to you, but even in the midst of being underpaid, those jobs helped me learn a lot about flexibility. Flexibility was a skill that I needed for my current job and it honestly made me learn patience. I was always a gal that liked to do things on her own time in her own way. I haven’t completely grown out of the habit BUT I’ve definitely gotten used to being flexible.

The summer really got rough around mid-July. My peace was constantly disrupted due to a number of circumstances and I just felt so lost. Of course, I had happy moments here and there but the bad outweighed the good to me. I’ve always been a person who tried to find small pieces of happiness and hold on to them, but last year I just couldn’t. There were many times I felt like literally dying and I foolishly didn’t reach out to get some help on that. Sometimes, when we are going through it we feel that it is best to just deal with things alone, instead of giving people the chance to be there for us.

Over the past year, I’ve learned that attitude certainly determines the outcome of things. We may not be able to control WHAT happens to us but we can control HOW we REACT to those things. I knew that in order for me to feel sane again, I needed to change my mindset.

While most people summers appeared to be lit and carefree as fuck, I was simply on a quest to try and get my shit together. I needed to step outside my comfort zone. I needed a change of scenery. I needed something positive to redirect my energy. I interviewed for a job that still doesn’t fit my degree but it’s one of my interests: working with children. Got the job and started training for that in August.

August was a month of new beginnings. I wanted to give up before I even started but ironically, it was my mother who gave me the advice not to. Pressing forward was a mindset that I developed in undergrad, but got revamped when I left. It meant that I wasn’t allowed to give up on myself. It meant that I wasn’t allowed to stay down for too long. So with this new and improved attitude, shit started looking up for me.

Eventually, I found stable housing.

Eventually, I got a job that I liked coming to most days.

Eventually, I started coming back around my friends.

I even adapted back to Chicago.

 

Shit was and is by no means perfect. But it’s definitely not the worst of the worst now that I think about it.

Recently, I made a trip back to Carbondale to celebrate yet another graduation. If you know me, you know I love to celebrate other people and I love imprinting my wisdom and motivation onto people. I found myself doing that a lot this past weekend, and one guy even came up to me while we were out to ask for some advice.

Not to be elitist, but college kids are a subgroup that I hold near and dear to my heart because I’ve BEEN through the struggle. I’m not sure if white folks go through as many trials and tribulations as Black college students but I’m so proud of us because I know the struggle on some level.

Many of you reading this that have just graduated will begin or have already begun to feel all of the things I’ve felt this past year and then some. There is no best way to prepare for the direction that your life is about to change. There is no piece of advice that I can give you besides buckle up. College was a ride, but sometimes the real world can be a bigger bitch.

I know you’re probably tired of hearing about the real world, but ever since my visit to Carbondale this weekend, I realized just how much of a box college towns can be. Everything is simple and carefree compared to moving to another city.

Nevertheless, the best thing I’ve realized is that change is inevitable. No matter how you may try to avoid it, it HAS to happen to make you a better you.

Surviving the first year of college has been no joke, but if I can say 1 thing (okay, really 3 things) I would say:

Enjoy Your Moment

 

You just graduated. I’m sure you went through hell and back to get your degree so just enjoy the fact that you finished — whatever that looks like for you. It may be scary not to have a set routine of class, work, turn up, etc anymore but enjoy your moment. You worked hard for it, you did enough and you deserve to relax now.

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

I have friends that immediately went into their careers with high paying salaries. They worked hella hard to land their positions but make no mistake about it — they still had to make sacrifices that I am not necessarily built for. I say that to say, comparing ourselves to others is pointless because when the smoke and mirrors clear, we have to realize that everyone is on their own path to success. Unless you are willing to go through the same ups and downs as the next person, stay in your lane and manifest your own skillsets and talents.

Be Intentional

Your job after undergrad may not be ideal or even what you got your degree in, but it must be intentional. Everything from this point forward must be a stepping stone to your ultimate goal — whatever that may be. Making moves out of desperation or fear happens to the best of us, but don’t make those actions a permanent thing. As I said, one of my worst character traits is that I am impulsive, but learning to be intentional has brought much more peace in my life.

This Is All Normal — And You’re Not Alone

Still feeling lost, dazed, and/or confused? That’s cool too. Understand this though: you’re not alone. The funny part about adulting is that we all just wake up every day and try to figure it the fuck out. No matter how good shit may look on social media, we are all just winging it! Me personally, I often share my thoughts and feelings because I don’t want others to feel like they are alone going through this. Reach out to your peers and create that safe space with one another to decompress what’s going on. You’ll need that support more than ever after college, trust me.

 

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Me, at peace.

So now that it is one year later, I can honestly say that I am at peace. I fight daily for it and try my hardest to maintain it.  I have grown in ways that I never imagined and I feel myself getting wiser by the day. I am at peace because I didn’t give up on myself when I know I really wanted to. I am at peace because I know that my bounce back game is strong. I am at peace because I am peace.  I don’t know everything but I do know that regardless of how you feel NOW, shit really does eventually get better.

 

Congrats to the class of 2018. I wish you peace, blessings, and clarity on your journey. ♥

 

 

 

Made Maven Leadership Summit Recap

Life is too short to belived counting the years.Enjoy the ride and makeamazing memories.Have a great birthday!

This isn’t just another story about how good God has been to me. This is also a story about how powerful Black women are when we link up, share our gems and consistently break barriers with our ambition, hard work, and faith.

To begin, I want you to ponder on this: Have you ever wanted to go to something or be somewhere but you just simply couldn’t afford it at that time? That’s how I felt seeing a bunch of people I follow on Instagram post about attending the Made Maven Leadership Summit. This event was a weekend-long celebration featuring a plethora of established women in the blogging, public relations, entrepreneurship and non-profit industry host workshops and more.

As we all know, I am currently NOT making a lot of money at my day job. I saw the ticket price and decided to pass it up….until the week before the event was to take place, someone from the PR team hit up my IG DM’s and asked if I would like to attend the event and cover it for my blog. TALK ABOUT DIVINE TIMING!!!!! TALK ABOUT GOD ALIGNING SOME SHIT! I was so happy and honored to do so.

So I did what any smart woman would do… I accepted the request and grabbed one of my homegirls and off to the Made Maven Summit we went!

A boomerang of me!

At this point, you’re probably wondering what this summit is and why it was so important for me to attend. Lucky for me and you, I got a chance to chop it up with Kris Christian, publisher of Made Maven.

A self-described serial-entrepreneur, Kris is a woman who wears many hats and wears them well. She is not only the CEO and Founder of Made-Magazine, she also plans high profile events through her company Fame Enterprises and just launched another company called Chicago French Press, which specializes in healthier and alternative ways to drink coffee.

Kris says that it was her own personal experience of being an entrepreneur that led her to create the summit. “I’ve always been ambitious and never believed in being tied to my background,” she says. “What I was seeing though, in working and hiring black women was the need to cultivate their skillset and connect them with the proper resources like mentorship.”

“I think a lot of times we’re looking for a figure like Oprah to influence our decisions or inspire us in some way when the reality is they’re not enough. So, do your OWN thing. Be your own Oprah or Beyonce in your OWN lane or career. Everyone doesn’t have to be an entrepreneur,” Christian said.

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“For me, it’s really about giving women the confidence and practical tools to get there.” ~ Kris Christian

The Sessions 

Held at the beautiful Virgin Hotels in downtown Chicago, I went to a total of four sessions that ranged from PR tips to how to negotiate like a bad ass for that big corporate sponsorships some of us hope to get one day. Here’s a small recap of what I learned from each one.

When PR Pros and Bloggers Meet 

The best way for Bloggers and PR Pros to work well together is for both parties to do their research. You don’t want a person hitting you up for a collaboration on either end & what you’re trying to offer doesn’t align with what they’re about. Also, the best thing a blogger can offer their readers is authenticity. If something isn’t a good fit, don’t try to force it.

Get Information: Forming & Growing A 501C3 Foundation

This was a really dope session led by Donnie Smith, Co-founder and Executive Director of Donda’s House, a Chicago based organization that gives free access to the arts for youth.

She gave us a GREAT workbook that outlined everything we should know about starting a non-profit and was very transparent with some of her joys and challenges from running Donda’s House the past 5 years. Whatever sector you want to go in, Donnie suggested that knowing the ins and outs of them is most important, as well as having creativity and knowing what your in-house expertise is.

Capturing Audience: A Guide To Social Media Amplification

Led by Taylar Barrington, this session was all about being an influencer on social media and how to leverage that through diversifying content, fine-tuning messaging and how to attract the brands you want to work with. She broke it down into 3 tips which included

  1. Know Your Role ~ As a blogger or influencer, you are a service provider to your audience.
  2. Work Smart, Not Hard ~ Make the job of posting content easier so you can spend time being creative: utilize a content calendar, download different scheduling apps such as HootSuite, etc.
  3. Hack Your Growth ~ Utilize those business page features on Instagram people! They give you all types of analytics, the best time to post, demographic breakdown and you can even follow hashtag trends to get your posts to stand out more.

Pitch Perfect: Pitching To Win A Corporate Sponsorship

The last session I attended was led by Jetta Bates, an award-winning marketer who takes brands and businesses from good to great with her sharp analytical skills and influence. In this session, I learned all about asking for sponsorship from big companies and she gave us 3 key points to keep in mind.

  1. Be Clear About What The Sponsor Wants ~ Google their initiatives. Take note of their giving priorities.
  2. Be Clear On Who You Are Reaching ~ Think about the things your core audience consumes and tailor your proposal to that.
  3. Are You Benefitting Anybody? ~ She told us to think about what type of things are we giving back to our community.

 

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Yours truly, posing in front of this super cute backdrop they had!

Needless to say, I had a really dope Sunday afternoon. I walked away more knowledgeable than I entered and learned about some resources to not only better myself and my own budding brand, but also the people around me too. ♥

For more information about the speakers, panelists, and sessions, visit www.mademaven.com.

Recap From the #WriteYourselfALoveLetterChallenge Event

So, let me tell ya’ll how good GOD is!

When the ending of 2017 came around, like most people I started thinking about my goals and what I wanted for myself, my blog and my brand. The end goal of all of this is to become a full-time blogger, I want to be able to make money doing what I love while remaining impactful and authentic.

I’m a person who journals, so I wrote a few things down about how I wanted to leverage my blog to bring in income for me while continuing to work my full-time job. When I was in undergrad, I gained some experience in event planning and had been to a few blogger events myself.

So I was like…. Kia, this year you’re gonna have 3 successful events this year. The first one will be free just so you can see if you can do it. So then I started brainstorming about what type of event I wanted to have and my blog posts from the #WriteYourselfALoveLetterChallenge came to mind. I remembered that on Valentine’s Day of 2017 I was asked by The Women’s Center down in my college town to come and present the challenge to the community women who got serviced by the center. We talked about self -love, our struggles with it, and wrote love letters and poems to ourselves. Fast forward to graduating and moving back home to Chicago and I knew that my love letter event was the one I wanted to bring to life.

But of course, it wasn’t easy.

In fact, I’m convinced that great things don’t happen without a little mishap.

I had the original date set for February 10th. Until my lovely hometown of Chicago decides to have a damn SNOWSTORM. TALK ABOUT DEVASTATED!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chile, I cried lol. I was so upset that my event couldn’t happen when I wanted it to happen. What made matters worse was that the venue I rented didn’t have any other available dates in February, so it wasn’t like I could just easily reschedule a week later.

I have a tendency to beat myself up when things don’t work out the way I intend them to but between God and my friends, I snapped out of it. I always find a solution… I just gotta be dramatic about it first lol.

My venue had an available date of March 3rd and I was comfortable with that because I figured, what better way to kick off my birthday month than to throw my very first event back home?

Another cool thing that happened was that a journalism student, by name of Anna Kook from the award-winning North Western Medill School of Journalism hit me up on Facebook and said that she wanted to cover my event for her class project.

I was in awe. I have no idea how she found me (thank you Internets) but I’m glad that she did. The event was amazing! We laughed, we cried, we drank hella wine and we wrote some beautiful love letters to ourselves!

Watch the video below and let me know what you think!

And don’t worry, more events are coming soon!

XOXOXO,

Kia ♥♥♥♥♥

3 Things I Learned From Lip Service Live

 

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Moderator: Frankie Robinson of WGCI Radio & panelists.

 

 

This past weekend, I had the honor of attending the 24th annual Black Women’s Expo! Held at Chicago’s McCormick Center, this 3-day event is a celebration of Black Womanhood that features black-owned businesses, performances, and plenty of panel discussions and seminars.

On Sunday, I attended the Lip Service Live panel discussion which was moderated by WGCI’s Frankie Robinson, featuring Angela Yee of the Breakfast club, Charmaine Walker of Black Ink Crew Chicago, Phor of Black Ink Crew Chicago, Van Johnson of Chicagorilla, GiGi Maguire of Lip Service Podcast, Lore’l of Lip Service Podcast and doctors Maya Green and Toya O. from the Chicago Department of Health.

This seminar was unfiltered AF but that is to be expected. Everything from UTI’s, fellatio tips and vaginal myths busted was discussed. The audience and panelists were highly engaged with each other and while the attention was mostly on the celebrity panelists, the doctors impressed me the most.

Here are 3 things I learned from them to live our best happy and healthy, and unfiltered sex lives.

How do you prepare for intimacy?

We live in a world where many men are uncomfortable and straight up REFUSING to go to the doctor and get tested for STD’s. Panelist Dr. Toya said that it is important for men to do these things because most black women who contract HIV tend to do so from their heterosexual male partners. Dr. Maya said that “we need to make it okay for men to love their bodies and be sexually whole like women are.” and I couldn’t agree more! The doctors went on to say that the best way to prepare for intimacy is to go get tested with your partners, though special circumstances are considered such as one night stands. It was refreshing to be in a space where alternative lifestyles were considered and absolutely no shaming was going on.

PrEP can be taken by women as well.

6 out of 10 HIV cases are black women. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is an anti-viral drug that reduces your chance of contracting the disease. If you look at advertisements, you will see that PrEP is primarily marketed to and for gay men, but Dr. Maya cleared that misconception up. An audience member also had a question about why is there no cure for HIV yet a prevention and Dr. Toya answered and said that is because the HIV virus changes every time it replicates which makes it hard to cure. They did go on to say that PrEP is 90% effective and highly recommend for women to take it if they feel they may be at high risk for contracting HIV.

So, What exactly is squirting?

Recently on social media, I’ve seen debates about whether or not the hoopla around a woman squirting is actually just urine. Frankie Robinson joked and said that squirting is like a Long Island Iced Tea, you never know what exactly is in it. Dr. Maya and Dr. Toya cleared it up and said that squirting is simply urine mixed with a combination of liquids from the vagina. It is not to be confused with female ejaculation, which is the culmination of liquid from the vagina and can happen with or without an orgasm. The crowd went wild at that answer lol, I’m sure the answers cleared up a lot of misconceptions.

Want to see more of my recap of the Black Women’s Expo? Follow my Instagram @KiaSmithWrites for videos. Thank you so much to the Chicago chapter of Black Bloggers United for letting me share my coverage of this weekend long event!

Missed the expo in Chicago? No worries, the Black Women’s Expo is touring this year to Atlanta and Dallas, stay tuned to the website for dates.

To The Bloggers That Want To Quit

Quit Blog

To the bloggers that wanna quit, this one is for you.

I’ve been in this thang for 6 years and I’ve seen so many bloggers come and go. So many young ladies and men alike enter into this thang bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, probably inspired by social media famous bloggers like Blog Xilla, Karen Civil, and Necole Kane (when she was Necole Bitchie) to create a platform and then boom, get rich. The three I have mentioned became wealthy, influential, and famous off their platforms….. who wouldn’t want a piece of that?

Who wouldn’t want to get paid to do what they love? Be around celebrities? Travel on a whim? Go to these award shows?

But here’s a secret:

In order to do shit like that, it takes work… and it takes time.

That’s right. Work + Time.

Blogging is not for the faint of hearts. It’s not for those who seek instant gratification.

I’ve seen so many bloggers come and go these last few years. I myself have taken a few hiatuses and just LAST year, I wrote something about me questioning if I should stop writing cuz I felt like I wasn’t getting the recognition I felt like I deserved. I was sensitive back then, I’ve toughened up so much more now.

I said all that to say this: Whether you are a new blogger or a vet, understand that you’re going to have moments when you want to quit. The most common reasons are:

  • Lack of support
  • Wanting that instant gratification
  • Comparing yourself to other bloggers
  • Lack of consistency
  • Not defining your own version of success

 

And much more.

But have no fear, in my normal Kia fashion I am going to call you out on your shit but I’m also gonna encourage you. It needs to be more bloggers out here and I hate to see people start something and then just up and quit.

On Lack of Support & Wanting Instant Gratification

Look. Get this through your head, ESPECIALLY if you are new around here: 9 times out of 10 the people who share, support, and read your shit will NOT be your close friends and family. It could be a number of reasons behind that but understand that most of your support will likely come from a stranger.

Blame the internet.

Remember in my What’s Your Support Love Language post, when I said that if we focus on who isn’t clapping for us, we overlook the ones that are?

Stop looking for reasons to be upset and just blog!

Maybe your loved ones will come around and maybe they won’t.

Learn to be okay with either outcome.

On Comparing Yourself To Others

This is a world of instant gratification, I get it.

You see someone’s blog go viral and wonder why your shit doesn’t have that many views.

You see people like Karen Civil and wonder why you’re not as popular.

There are 2 very simple answers to this:

  1. You ain’t put that work in.
  2. Stop comparing yourself to others.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Don’t we know by now that social media is an illusion?

Successful people are STILL making sacrifices to achieve what they have, whether that is spending less time with their loved ones or dealing with the financial burden of funding all their dreams.

You’re comparing yourself to them when you could be using that energy to perfect your craft. You should be inspired by your fellow blogging peers, not envious.

Remember this: It takes time to build an audience and even what looks like overnight success typically isn’t.

On Not Defining Your Own Version of Success

You can’t model your success off someone else’s. Are you willing to put in the same amount of work?

Don’t even let others put their expectations on you, ESPECIALLY if they don’t have a blog themselves.

You also can’t let social media define what type of successful blogger you should be, that’s not fair to you.

It’s okay to draw inspiration from other bloggers but wanting to be like them is a whole other ballgame. Get you some paper. Ask yourself what does being a successful blogger look like for you? Write down your goals, standards, and expectations. Set them. Work towards them. Then exceed them.

On Lack of Consistency

Life gets in the way sometimes and I definitely understand. I also know that when you feel unsupported, constantly compare yourself to other bloggers, and don’t define your own version of success, you will have little to no energy to stay consistent with blog posts. The longer you stay inconsistent with blogging the easier it is to quit.

Maybe you become inconsistent because you thought this would be a breeze. Or you’re confused about what your niche is. Or maybe it’s something as simple as you not knowing how to balance your personal life with a schedule for producing content. But instead of quitting, you need to rest. You need to revamp, you need to figure it out. They say procrastination comes from fear so ask yourself what are you so afraid of and do the shit anyway!

Moral of the story:

Blogging is tough, but it’s not impossible to do. Even if you feel like you don’t have all the tools you need to succeed as a blogger, you have two options: Seek it out or create it yourself.

But what you can’t do is give up on yourself by quitting when you realized this is tougher than it looks.

Rest if you must but quitting is not an option.

Get back to blogging beloved,

Kia ♥♥♥♥♥♥