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.
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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. ♥
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.
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
Know Your Role ~ As a blogger or influencer, you are a service provider to your audience.
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.
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.
Be Clear About What The Sponsor Wants ~ Google their initiatives. Take note of their giving priorities.
Be Clear On Who You Are Reaching ~ Think about the things your core audience consumes and tailor your proposal to that.
Are You Benefitting Anybody? ~ She told us to think about what type of things are we giving back to our community.
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.
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!
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 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 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.
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:
You ain’t put that work in.
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.
If I had a dollar for everytime someone reached out to me to discuss their aspirations of becoming a blogger, I’d be rich AF right now. As a person that’s always open to sharing what I know, I’m usually elated to see people take heed of my advice and create these dope blogs and brands while others…. well they have created nothing but more excuses for themselves.
The hard part about doing anything is simply starting it. It is said that procrastination is derived out of fear, so to my fellow bloggers who want to start a blog yet keep dragging their feet, I ask… what are you so afraid of?
Here are some of the common excuses I hear and what you can do to combat them.
“I Just Don’t Have Time..”
Look. People make time for what they want to make time for. Learn how to properly plan. Plot out how many blog posts you want to drop a month. Keep a journal or your phone on you to jot down ideas and create drafts. Sometimes, you may have to wake up a little earlier or go to bed a little later just to get a post out. Time is what we make of it. The more time you spend saying you don’t have time is the time that could be spent writing a blog post.
“But I don’t have ______________”
When I first started blogging, I didn’t even have my own laptop. I used to go the friend’s houses, McDonald’s, the library, and Starbucks for wifi. I’m a firm believer in not letting what you don’t have stop you from accomplishing what you want to accomplish. You don’t have to have a fire logo yet or a professional web design. In the beginning stages, you probably haven’t figured out what you want your brand to be about and even if you have, I’m pretty sure you will revamp and rebrand as the years go on… but you gotta get started first. As long as you are consistent in the blogging world, you will get everything that you need.
“But EVERYBODY has a blog!”
Nothing new is under the sun, the difference is in the execution. Everybody and they mama may have a blog but everybody and they mama ain’t you. Even if you want to blog about common topics, nobody in this world is you which means that your perspective on things will be different than everyone else’s. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t even be worried about what someone else is doing. Once you stop dragging your feet, you can figure out what your niche is. But again, you have to start first.
“But I don’t know enough about blogging”
Nobody ever does in the beginning and truthfully, we all are figuring this thang out as we go along. We live in the age of information so whatever you want to know, is possible to know. There are so many workshops, webinars, youtube videos, Facebook groups, and established bloggers on social media that you can utilize. Try a few different resources and see what works for you and what doesn’t. Everything is trial and error in the blog world.
“It’s just not the right time…”
I learned this secret about people a long time ago: We never feel like there is a “right time” to do anything. We are our toughest critics, hardest judges. It’s one thing to want things done decently and in order, it’s another thing to obsess over every minor detail to the point where you prolong.
“I’m Just Scared..”
When you think about sharing something, it can indeed be scary. When you make the decision to become a blogger, You are opening yourself up to a world of criticism, a world of the unknown. You don’t really know who supports or is hating on you, (the latter doesn’t matter as long as they giving your blog a view) you don’t even know if people will like what you have to show or say. Blogs are nothing without an audience so it can be even scarier determining who yours is.
I know you’re scared but fuck it, do it anyway!
Why miss out on a chance to get better at something?
Why sit on your dreams?
Somebody out there needs to see/hear/watch what you have to say.
So do it.
Pretend you got some faith and walk out on it.
It’s scary as fuck putting yourself out there but I can personally say that after six years, it’s totally worth it.
With that being said, take these few things with you:
Everything you want is on the other side of fear. Fear is good. Fear is what makes us human. Fear should give us an adrenaline rush not paralyze us.
You are YOU. Yes everyone has a blog but nobody has a blog like YOU so start that thang. It’s a piece of the pie for all of us out here.
There is no such thing as L’s, only lessons learned. I’m not sure what your definition of success for your blog will be but even if you do “fail” you now how something to learn from. Remain open to learning.
Moral of the story, if you’re reading this and you wanna start that blog you’ve been dreaming of, then stop dragging your feet.
Hey y’all, welcome to the second entry for #ShareItSundays. This post is from Tamika Ayers and originally appeared on tamikaayers.us
This blog takes readers through the sex conversation of the author and her spouse.
Initially, when I got engaged to my husband I was like “YES!! LEGAL SEX!! LET’S GOOOOOO!! No judgment zone! Do it do it do it!” I think I was more excited about that than I was about anything else. I mean to be preached at for all of your life that sex is for married people only; the desire to have it freely was mine for the taking!! YAAAASSSS GAWD!! That’s not how it suppose to be, but that’s what I was thinking, lol! As we got further along in our marriage, I realized I didn’t have that much experience sexually which had me a tad bit insecure. I wasn’t even sure that I was pleasing him despite the obvious evidence.
I mean, it wasn’t my first go around when it came to sex, but I wasn’t familiar with it enough to know what exactly I needed to do when it came to different positions, mindset, etc. I was a good kisser and I was relying on that HEAVILY, but um muh ruh… Sex was all the way different than kissing. And that one position everybody was doing became overly used. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t sure he enjoyed it.
Yep. Talk about amateur. Like literally I was telling myself, I have got to try something new. Change this thang up a little bit. That required me to step out of my comfort zone and look… dumb! Okay maybe not dumb, but I had to jump out of my comfort zone. I struggled with this because I don’t like to embarrass myself and I don’t like to look stupid. If I do something, I need to be successful at it right then. No mess up zone!
There was a constant mental image in my head that IF I tried something new and my husband would be like “Girl what tha heck are you doing?” I would cry my eyes out and be in quiet mode until I got my dignity back. So then I was like “What if he wouldn’t like my new moves or maybe my choice of lingerie?” He’s already told me that I couldn’t dance and my choice of lingerie needed less material, LOL! SIR, I AM SAVED AND SANCTIFIED! We don’t wear all of that in HOLINESS!! Yea… I was losing.
I mean to me, it had to be RIGHT. No mess ups. Everything had to be perfect and since the negative thoughts trumped the concept that this is my life partner so he wouldn’t judge my mess ups I just stayed in my good ol’ Hello Kitty cotton onesie (JUDGE ME NOT! They’re really warm, lol!), big T-shirts, and bonnet. Chiiiiiile… I needed to sleep comfortably, lol! I didn’t picture myself taking the reins in my sex life and letting him rest from dominating because… I NEVER DID and I DIDN’T WANT TO LOOK CRAZY!
So I did the impossible and I asked him: “Do I satisfy you sexually?” and “What do you like?”
Believe it or not, talking about sex makes me feel sooo weird. Like I thought about it a lot, but having to actually talk about it made me shiver. So having this conversation with my husband was MAJOR for me. Initiating the conversation was that much more major. It was a moment of vulnerability (remember I hate vulnerable moments) because I had to be open to critique (if there were any) and I had to get out of the mindset of habit. I’m a creature of habit no matter how exciting life is. As blunt as my husband is, the conversation was AMAZING! I learned what he liked and what he enjoyed. I learned what he likes to see me in and what he zones in on. This then allowed me to try new things because I knew what I was working with. I had a foundation to build on that was developed by a single conversation.
The conversation of what pleases you and what your husband desires is VERY important. The act of sex is pleasing the other partner, but you can’t go in there thinking it’s all about you. That selfish situation will have you fulfilled and your spouse starving for that fulfillment. This leaves the door open for other things and thoughts to manifest that shouldn’t. I’m not saying cheating is okay. It’s absolutely not okay. I do believe that we should do our best to not contribute to the temptation.
Have the conversation.
In the words of my husband “We’ve got forever to go so let’s make this work!”
Like what you read? Visit Tamika’s website at tamikaayers.us and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @iamtamika_ayers