The Do’s, The Don’ts, And The Layers of “Casual Sex”

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This all started when I commented on someone’s Instagram post when they asked if Friends With Benefits could actually work out. Of course, there were a lot of mixed responses, but one that stood out to me the most was when someone said “yes…. if sex is the only thing that y’all hit each other up for.”

I agreed with that BUT I also added that while it could work, it also depends on what the act of having sex means to you. Humans complicate things so much, so sometimes in our most “casual” encounters, one or both parties may find themselves performing some type of emotional labor for one another, even though things are supposed to be “casual.”

This led me to do a little research on what exactly emotional labor is and how does it manifest itself in all my relationships–especially my sexual ones.

In simple terms, emotional labor typically refers to managing your emotions in a professional workplace. When you apply this same line of thinking to non-professional settings, you will see that emotional labor shows up in all types of relationships. Some examples of emotional labor looks like: awareness of mood swings, likes, dislikes, asking if you ate today, asking about your anxiety levels, asking about your day, stroking your ego, etc.

Furthering my research, I found two articles that confirmed what I already knew: it is majority women in heterosexual relationships that shoulder the work of emotional labor because we are supposed to be “naturally understanding and nurturing” while men basically can go through life and not deal with any of this because we don’t give nigga’s room to explore their emotions in a healthy way. By we, I’m talking about society at large and those of us who have internalized misogyny.

So Wassup With Casual Sex?

Well first thing’s first: What does it mean to be casual? From the dictionary it says: happening by chance; fortuitous, without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing, seeming or tending to  be indifferent to what is happening; apathetic; unconcerned.

So if that’s the case, then why do so many people end up in situationships? When it comes to sex in general, the mindset behind it is changing. It’s no longer a thing we do just cuz some of us might be married or some of us want to reproduce. People have sex for all types of reasons, and probably the most common one is because we want to.

So Where Do The Emotions Come In At?

Drake said in one of his songs that “We live in a generation of not being in love, and not being together. But we sure make it feel like we are together, because we are scared to see each other with somebody else.”

Whew chile. If that’s not the truth. Lemme turn that quote on its head by saying further, I think we live in a generation where we are too afraid of being vulnerable and to afraid to give and receive love, yet we want the emotional labor performed.

Not saying that you have to pick one or the other but aye, this is where things get complicated….

But Kia, Sex and Love Are Two Different Things.

Are they really? Or are they closely related? What does having sex with someone, “casual” or not, mean to you? Only you can define that for yourself. In my opinion, I think sex and love are closely related BUT you do NOT have to love someone or be in love with someone to have sex with them. Did I contradict myself? Probably so.

Or maybe not. Sex is so complex. Humans are too. Mix the two and shit becomes difficult.

But, if you are a person who engages in casual sex or wants to, you may be wondering what are some of the do’s and don’ts of engaging in this act with someone. A while ago on Twitter, I tweeted my theory that people may catch feelings for a casual sex partner because we have all been socialized to think that casual partners should be treated like trash emotionally. When someone develops emotional competency, it disrupts the status quo of what we’ve been taught.

Now of course… some good dick or coochie shouldn’t have you out here crazy, because then that becomes an underlying issue with your attachment styles and the ways you refuse to regulate your emotions. Some things to consider when it comes to casual sex are

  • What types of actions should be avoided emotionally?
  • Do emotions have a place in casual sex?
  • What makes casual sex successful?
  • What makes casual sex so layered?

The Do’s

So you met you a lil somebody that you wanna have sex with but you’re not looking for a monogamous relationship and they aren’t either. Yay for you!! To keep it successful, I would suggest:

Communication – This needs to be open and honest. When you share your body with someone, I feel like you deserve to know how many people they are fucking. Ask them do they plan on having sex outside of the arrangement? How often or when is the last time you and them got tested? How casual is casual? What is the frequency that you all want to see each other? Talk about these things.

Honesty – Be honest with yourself and each other when it comes to casual sex. Think about your reasons for even doing this, with this person. Make sure you aren’t settling for casual sex when you know YOU want more. If more is what you want and that other person isn’t on the same page, please move forward. Otherwise, you set yourself up for disaster.

Protect Each Other – Casual sex does not equate to carelessness, especially when it comes to our bodies. If you have sex with others outside of the original arrangement, the least you could do is use condoms or whatever. You don’t have to treat your casual sex partners like trash emotionally or sexually. Period.

The Don’ts

If you want casual sex to be successful, you may want to avoid:

Stringing Them Along – Look, it’s not hard to tell if someone likes you and wants more. If you notice that, speak up about your boundaries and then GRACEFULLY make your exit. (because remember kids, ghosting them is not cool). Sometimes, we can get sooooo selfish that we string people along and have them in situations they don’t want to be in simply because we won’t establish and/or maintain boundaries. Y’all got folks out here performing an unbalanced act of emotional labor, because your mouth is saying one thing but your actions say something completely different. It is so many people out here to have sex with, find someone who is on the same page as you.

Emotional Labor – While you don’t have to treat your casual sex partner like trash, you also don’t gotta act like you’re in a relationship with them either. That means no cooking for one another, no cuddling, no spending the night at each other’s houses, no meeting each other’s family or friends, no dates. In fact, the only time y’all should even communicate is when y’all are deciding what day/time/location you all are going to link up to have sex. Dassit. Cuz its casual right? Why do you want all the extra stuff?

Being Messy – Nobody likes a messy partner,  especially one that’s just supposed to be there for sex. Don’t bring drama into y’all situation. Don’t bring back STD’s, don’t bring them into a situation where you got a ex who can’t let go and definitely don’t approach nobody if you have a hard time being real with yourself and others. Just don’t be careless!

The Layers

So, if you haven’t realized by now, I personally don’t think that casual sex is “casual” ……

Can it start off that way? Of course.

But why can’t it STAY that way? Because. Humans… we make shit hard.

You know how many times I’ve tried to be “casual” with a guy and then I find myself acting like his girlfriend???

As much as we try to avoid emotions, we forget that lust and desire are emotions, two necessary components when you wanna fuck somebody. We think so basic when it comes to emotions that we miss the key ones that even draw us to people in the first place.

Therefore, you can’t have sex WITHOUT emotions, however you can learn how to PROPERLY REGULATE them.

But as I said earlier, we can’t properly regulate our emotions if we have a hard time communicating them let alone admitting them in the first place. We’re afraid of being vulnerable. We’re afraid of not being liked back. We’re afraid of dealing with our own shit, so we use sex to distract us.

Is it possible to have a platonic sex partner who is also your homie, also someone you care deeply about, also someone you can go out on dates with, etc? Yes. As long as you two communicate those things.

Is good sex with someone probable cause to desire those things listed above? No. But also yes. Because regardless of what we call it, building things with people and learning all of their likes and dislikes is an intimate exchange of time.

Even being open and honest with one another when feelings change is hard.

The layers of casual sex is what makes things so complicated… Unless, of course you TRULY are a person who only hits people up or allows yourself to be hit up for sex and sex only. Which then I kinda feel like means you are suppressing an emotional side of yourself but if this practice is something that works for you and you like it, I love it.

Moral of the story

Always do what works for you. If you know casual sex is not your thing, don’t settle for it. If you know monogamy and sticking to one partner ain’t for you, don’t settle for it.

Emotions are more prevalent than we think, so even if you think you’re doing your best to avoid them, they’ll smack you in the face anyway.

Casual sex ain’t really casual.


Enough of me talking, let me hear what you think!

Have you ever engaged in casual sex?

Have you ever settled for casual sex with someone and wanted more from them?

If you are someone who prefers to engage in casual sex only, is it hard for you to find someone on the same page as you?

Are sex and love closely related or two different things to you?

Do you have difficulty admitting and talking about your emotions to your sex partners?

Have you ever been in a casual and fun sex partnership with someone and then one of you catches feelings? What is your next move?

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Ghosts and Goblins

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“I’m sorry if I ever did anything to hurt you or anyone around you….” is how a recent text from a guy that ghosted me last year popped up.

I was flabbergasted. One reason was because I never expected to hear from him again and then, considering the type of guy that he is (or rather portrays himself to be) I definitely did not expect an apology…. even if it was generic.

But this isn’t about him or the shenanigans of Venus being in retrograde. 

Let’s talk about Ghosting. The thing that most people do, but everybody hates.

Gho-sting ɡōstiNG/ noun: Per my definition, ghosting is when you build a personal connection with a mf and then boom: out of nowhere things change and this person disappears into thin air. They don’t return calls, texts, and if you happen to live in the same city with them; you don’t see them…. like at ALL. Even if you purposely go to the same places they go or even pop up at their house. 

Needless to say, no matter what your reaction to being ghosted might be, the shit hurts. Like bad. But why does it hurt so much?

Consider Your Attachment Style

If you’re anything like me, it may take you a moment to open up to others, especially romantically. I think the more time you spend talking, building, dating, fucking — whatever, with someone your walls soften and you get used to a routine. When that routine is interrupted, it just feels weird. Not to be overly dramatic, but sometimes getting ghosted can feel like you lost a piece of you and now you have to figure out who you are again before you even met this person and started a routine with them. Understanding that all relationships and friendships don’t last forever, but damn, who knew they’d be so temporary too? Our attachment styles have a lot to do with why we react so seriously when we get ghosted. Did we have a healthy attachment to that person? Or were we feeding a co-dependency issue that we have?

Ghosting Is Just Rude AF

Another reason why ghosting hurts so much is because its just RUDE AF! Some people feel like ghosting others is okay because not everyone deserves to know why you stopped fucking with them. That’s cool, but what if that SAME energy was returned back to you? However, I do think we take it so hard because our egos get bruised. We think we are such great people that we are untouchable when it comes to the nuances of developing close relationships with others. Aside from bruised egos, ghosting is rude as fuck because of how cowardly and childish it is. It’s okay to have changed feelings, but damn… can we exhibit some emotional maturity and just communicate?

If Someone Ghosts You, It’s Not Your Fault

Probably the worst part about getting ghosted (aside from generic ass apologies after the fact) is all the self-doubt that comes creeping up. You begin to question yourself like was I not good enough? Was I far more invested in this thing than they were? What is it about my personality that made them tired of me? Do I need to change something about myself so this never happens to me again?  Soooo many self-defeating thoughts, and if you already have low self esteem, then getting ghosted makes it worse. I have learned and I want you to understand that if someone ghosts you, it’s not your fault.

It’s not your fault if someone ghosts you.

It’s not your fault if someone ghosts you.

It’s not your fault if someone ghosts you.

It’s not your fault if someone ghosts you.

It’s not your fault if someone ghosts you.

It’s not your fault if someone ghosts you.

For crying out loud, it is not your fault if someone ghosts YOU. 

We cannot control grown ass people (no matter how much we deeply desire to) nor their actions. It is not your fault if people wake up one day and decide to walk out your life, let them do it…. you’re the prize anyway.

What If I’m The One That Ghosted Somebody?

I have been that person too. And we ain’t shit for doing it. I remember I ghosted this really sweet guy and to this day he never treated me ill because of it, which makes me feel even worse for doing it. At that time in my life, I lacked a lot of emotional maturity and refused to learn how to communicate through my shit.

Still, it’s no excuse.

As I said earlier, it’s okay if you wake up one day and no longer have the same feelings toward someone and it’s okay if you no longer want to be in their life. But it’s HOW you walk out their life that matters and as I’ve said, to do so with no word or explanation is just rude AF, G.

Is There Ever A Situation Where It’s “OK” To Ghost Someone?

I’m still trying to figure this one out myself, because I know each case is different. Like one time, I was having casual sex with a guy and found out that the dick was trash…. so I ghosted him. He wasn’t trying to be my boyfriend and I wasn’t trying to be his girlfriend so to be honest, I don’t even think he noticed that I was gone lol.

In other cases, I do understand that sometimes you have to leave somebody exactly where they have you fucked up at. No explanation, especially when you’ve tried to communicate your feelings and they simply didn’t listen. I know people who have ghosted because of that.

Instead of finding situations where it’s okay to ghost someone, can we put that energy into oh Idk…. being comfortable with being vulnerable and actually TALKING about what goes on? Like, we can’t be childish forever. Use your words.

The Person Who Ghosted Me Has Apologized… Now What?

Shit….. don’t fall for it sis! Lol.

Y’all remember how on Insecure, Nathan ghosted Issa for a month and then tried to walk his yellow ass to her house with some flowers on her birthday? Like everything was all good? Whew chile, thank God for Molly intercepting because that could’ve taken a turn for the worse. That’s how I felt when that dude from last year texted me apologizing this weekend. Where was this energy last year? But I digress.

Understand that you don’t have to do anything. Not even wanna accept it if you don’t want to. You can actually pretend that the person doesn’t exist, cuz that’s how they did you when they ghosted you. (I’m a little petty, I know.)

Moral of the story

We all go through shit. Doesn’t mean you have to ghost anybody.

We all get ghosted. Stop blaming yourself, its not your fault.

Communicate, it makes things easier. Work through the issues you have with vulnerability. We all have to grow up some day.

Navigating relationships is scary enough. Let’s not add ghosting to the mix.


Have you ever ghosted someone?

Has someone ever ghosted you? If yes, how did it make you feel? Did your views on building relationships with people change?

How did you get over getting ghosted?

Stop Asking Us Why We Wait

Untitled design (1)To start this off, I want to issue a trigger warning, because its been a minute since I’ve written about r*pe. As a victim   survivor of the circumstance myself, writing about it, reading about it is honestly just triggering as fuck.

Regardless, I can’t keep quiet and watch you all continuously tear down other survivors of the circumstance due to your own ignorance. Every week, I watch y’all spew hatred and place blame on EVERYONE except the person who did the actual crime. I watch y’all justify and defend and down right CAP for abusers left and right, simply because some have influence. Some have power. And some were your “role models” growing up.

Social media has literally been making my stomach turn for a number of incidents. From that Orange Bitch in the White House tweeting that if the accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were true, then the accuser would have filed a police report 36 years ago, to y’all caping for Bill Cosby because he’s “old and blind”, enough is enough!

I’ve been wondering how could you all have the gall to even ask why women wait to report sexual assault, but maybe you are unaware and don’t understand how this works.

Maybe you are under the assumption that as soon as someone gets sexually violated, they then have the strength to go through the legal process and then boom, all is taken care of and the perpetrator is thrown in jail. And then the victim lives happily ever after.

I don’t expect y’all to be that dumb, but you know… if you’ve never been sexually assaulted before, then you deadass may not understand shit about shit, so that’s why it’s easy for you to spew your hatred and opinions.

Stop Asking Us Why We Wait 

Remember when Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas? What did y’all do to her? What did y’all say about her? Remember when we publicly watched R.Kelly’s grown ass marry 15-year-old Aaliyah, piss on a 14-year-old girl, post up outside of Kenwood High School, and even to this day has some sort of sex cult going on, what did y’all say about those girls? Bill Cosby said it out his own mouth that he bought drugs for women so he could have sex with them, literally said it out his own mouth and y’all are STILL convinced that those women are lying.

I say all that to say that if we actually had a chance at being believed, then maybe we would report more. Did you know that out of every 1,000 sexual assaults that happen, 994 perps will walk free?

Stop Asking Us Why We Wait 

Did you know that 2 out of 3 sexual assault cases go unreported? I’m sure women and other people who were sexually assaulted would report more if they had more support. If only they were met with compassion and kindness. If some weren’t bullied into being quiet. Did you know that 7 out of 10 rapes are committed by someone known to the victim? So naw, contrary to what is publicized on TV and movies, a rapist is not someone waiting in the bushes waiting to get your ass.

In the #WhyIDidntReport hashtag, thousands shared their stories of being violated and staying silent about it. Fear, backlash, and even their own family members were the common reasons why so many choose to suffer in silence for so long. Some even place blame on themselves, wondering if they could have did or said something different would have stopped that heinous crime.

Stop Asking Us Why We Wait 

Did you know that out of all victims of sexual abuse, 34% are under the age of 12 while 66% are ages 12-17? That means that every 2 out of 3 kids in that age range that you know, 2 out of 3 of them may be victims of sexual assault. Concluding with this, 93% of perpetrators are known to the victim.

Imagine being a kid and being assaulted and not feeling comfortable enough to tell anyone because you know exactly who did it, or you feel like what happened to you was somehow your fault. Imagine the blame, actually being placed on you. I know exactly how it feels, because I was once that kid.

Stop Asking Us Why Wait 

At this point, I just wish y’all would just admit that y’all hate women and y’all don’t care that someone gets proper justice. Some of you have mentioned that all those women are lying and just want money, fame, etc. Y’all wonder why many only come forward when someone has reached a certain status of affluency. Y’all wonder why white men “don’t get convicted for the same crimes”

As I mentioned above, 994 perpetrators walk free when accused of sexual assault. So not only are people NOT REALLY going to jail for these crimes, but did you also know that only 2-8% of rapes are falsely reported? Yes, it’s true that some people do lie but it does NOT negate the fact that the number of unreported, non-convicted number is so high.

When women do report things in a timely manner, society condemns them no matter how young or old. The other day on Twitter, I watched y’all condemn someone for putting her drink down at a party for two seconds to hand her friend a napkin, and when she picked it back up there was a green pill floating in it. Instead of condemning the person that put it in her drink, y’all attacked her.

The message all of these incidents portray is that everything is our fault, we should be more careful, we should know more, we shouldn’t be trusting, we shouldn’t drink, or go outside or breathe at this point. Or we’ll get r*ped and if we say something it’s our fault. And if we don’t say something, it’s our fault. And if we say something years down the line, it’s our fault.

Why don’t y’all have this same energy for abusers? Not just the celebrity ones either, but the ones in your own neighborhood, in your friend group, at church, the ones in your own family?

Stop Asking Us Why We Wait 

I think the narrative should switch from “Why did it take her          years to reveal this?”

To

“It’s a shame that she had to suffer with this secret for         years, I am glad she’s receiving peace.”

Instead, y’all cap all day long on Al Gore’s internet and basically say that Black men shouldn’t get convicted of sexual assault because white men get away with it. What that says to me is, not only do you NOT give a fuck about women or justice but you also just simply want to be white because whiteness = power and y’all desire that shit so much.

I wish y’all had this same energy about the criminal justice system when we discuss how Blacks and Latinos are disproportionately locked up for shit like weed, meanwhile White folks go to Colorado and start weed farms. Now that is some shit to rant and rave about.

Stop Asking Us Why We Wait 

We will continue to wait until y’all start holding people accountable, and not just celebrities either. Your homies need to be checked and locked up for the creepy shit they do, too.

Until y’all stop protecting abusers.

Until y’all stop accusing anyone who speaks up as someone who is just trying to tear someone else down.

Until y’all actually know, learn, and understand what consent is.

Until y’all unlearn all the harmful messages about women’s bodies and the access you perceive you have to them.

Until you examine what in you makes you want to protect abusers so much.

Until you start believing, start supporting, and start providing safe spaces for those who speak up.

Until you learn basic empathy and compassion, even if you have never experienced sexual assault yourself.

Experiencing sexual assault is a literal nightmare. The least you can do is stop asking us why we wait.

P.S. To my survivors of the circumstance who may be reading this: I don’t care if you are 6 or 66, I believe you. I love you. And whether you choose to live in silence or use your voice loudly, I support you.

Praying for more empathy and understanding,

Kia ♥


Sources

http://time.com/5403230/donald-trump-tweets-sexual-assault-reporting/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/whyididntreport-hundreds-of-thousands-confide-their-stories-of-rape-abuse/

https://www.rainn.org/statistics/children-and-teens

https://www.ourresilience.org/what-you-need-to-know/myths-and-facts/

https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence

https://www.rainn.org/statistics/perpetrators-sexual-violence

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 ♥

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

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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.